Man charged in police standoff seeks plea

Preliminary hearings for a man involved in a Hot Sulphur Springs police standoff in December have been postponed amid plea negotiations between the defense and the prosecution.

Stephen Branstetter, 41, is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder and refusing to leave the premises upon the request of a peace officer following a Dec. 1 standoff where he allegedly refused to leave his home and fired two shots at law enforcement offices.

In addition, Branstetter faces a felony menacing charge from an alleged threat he made against a neighbor.

On Wednesday, Branstetter’s attorney and 14th Judicial District Attorney Matt Karzen indicated that there was a possibility for a plea agreement.

“Myself and Mr. Karzen have been talking both about a potential disposition and an intermediate resolution that would involve Mr. Branstetter bonding out and receiving treatment,” said Chad Oxley, Branstetter’s attorney.

Karzen suggested that the plea would still contain felony charges, telling the judge he expects the cases to be decided in district court.

Hearing that discussions were in the works, Judge Nicholas Catanzarite scheduled a status conference for April 6, noting Branstetter still has the right for preliminary hearings in his cases until he waives that right.

Branstetter remains in the Grand County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

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