Denver crash and murder conviction featured on “60 Minutes”
In late 2009, a Colorado woman was killed in what appeared to be a single-vehicle drunk driving accident. Her boyfriend, who was in the passenger seat, survived the crash with no injuries. But nearly two years later, the man would be convicted of murder in connection with the young woman’s death. The tragic story was detailed in a recent episode of the CBS news show “60 Minutes,” explaining the long process of arresting and, ultimately, convicting the man.
At first, the car accident seemed like a fairly standard one. The woman was driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, which had caused her to crash her vehicle into a row of parked cars in a Colorado neighborhood. During the accident, she had hit her head on the windshield, causing her death.
But a closer investigation revealed some conflicting evidence. The woman had cuts and bruises that were consistent with being hit and strangled. Her blood alcohol level was only barely over the legal limit. The force of the impact probably wasn’t enough to kill her. And in the hour since the couple had last been seen, they had only traveled about five miles to the site of the crash.
Although that evidence was not conclusive, alone, to find that homicide was the cause of the woman’s death, a later recording made by the man’s wife in which he confessed to the murder was enough to arrest and, ultimately, convict him. It turned out that he had begun to punch and strangle her from the passenger seat as she drove down a Colorado interstate. He eventually took control of the car and staged the crash.
Following a criminal trial, the man was convicted of murder and sentenced to life with no possibility of parole.
Source: CBS News, “Was young Airman’s death a tragic accident or murder?” Oct. 13, 2012