Grand County jury finds Winter Park standoff suspect guilty on all counts
Grand County, CO Colorado
A jury of Grand County citizens found Brian Wilson, 53, of Denver, guilty Tuesday on all 24 charges against him in the 2008 Thanksgiving Day armed standoff with police in Winter Park.
During the standoff, Wilson held off law enforcement officers with a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun for three hours while drinking heavily and threatening the officers with the gun, according to the affidavit for Wilson’s arrest.
The standoff ended when police shot Wilson with a non-lethal “beanbag” round from a shotgun, which knocked him to the ground, according to the affidavit. During the ensuing struggle to apprehend the suspect, the affidavit says Wilson “indiscriminately” discharged four rounds from the pistol.
Following a six-day trial, a panel of 12 jurors in the District Court in Hot Sulphur Springs found Wilson guilty of five counts of criminal attempted first degree with deliberate indifference, six counts of felony menacing, two counts of obstructing police, three counts of prohibited use of a weapon, obstructing a highway, driving under the influence, DUI per se and five counts of committing a crime of violence, which is a sentence enhancer for the attempted murder charges.
All five of the officers who were on the scene in 2008 testified last week, including Fraser-Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor, officers Sean Curran, Roy Yberra, Brett Schroetlin and Colorado State Patrol Trooper James Proctor.
“It was an incredibly emotional trial,” Trainor said Wednesday. “The officers got up and bared their souls about how frightening it was to everybody.”
Trainor believes it was this “overwhelming testimony by officers about the total disregard by Wilson of officers’ safety at the scene,” that brought the jury to its decision.
Wilson, for his part, testified that the reason he acted the way he did was that he wanted the decision about his life to be his hands, Trainor said. He testified that he didn’t want to go jail or have his life taken out of his own hands and claimed that suicide by cop was not on his mind and that the weapon was fired accidentally by officers trying to pry it away from him, Trainor said.
Prosecutors presented strong evidence to the contrary, Trainor said, including testimony that Wilson moved the gun from his left hand to his right and that his finger was on the trigger when the gun went off.
“The verdict showed what we’d been alleging all along, which was that Mr. Wilson put a lot of lives in danger, including his own,” Trainor said.
Trainor estimated that the jury deliberated about 4 hours, starting on Monday afternoon and concluding at about 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“We are just grateful that none of us was injured or killed,” Trainor said. “We are grateful to live in a community that is as supportive of the police as this one seems to be.”
Sentencing has been set for July 1.
– Look for updates to this story as more details become available.
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