Idaho Springs man who represented self in court pleads guilty to assault
Ryan Summerlin December 5, 2014
Ray Wolfe was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison after pleading guilty in Summit County District Court last week to second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, as well as three other felonies.
All four charges are Class 4 felonies, netting Wolfe, 38, of Idaho Springs, eight-year sentences and three years of mandatory parole on each charge. The sentences were ordered by Chief Judge Mark Thompson to run concurrently, which means Wolfe will serve all four sentences at the same time.
The events of the last two weeks reflected an abrupt departure from the path the case had followed after Wolfe’s initial arrest in 2013 for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Wolfe beat his ex-girlfriend to the point that she needed her spleen surgically removed, according to court records. The attack resulted in the second-degree assault charge, among others.
During the weeks after his arrest, Wolfe racked up nine additional felony cases and one misdemeanor case for poor behavior while incarcerated at Summit County jail. Wolfe was looking at more than 400 years in prison if found guilty on all of the charges and in April declined a District Attorney’s Office offer of eight years in prison.
“Perhaps he was hoping it (the CBS story) would come off as a poor Ray Wolfe story.”
deputy district attorney
Wolfe took his case a couple of steps further when in June he elected not only to take all 11 cases to trial, but also to provide his own legal defense. Earlier this month, in an effort to air his case in the court of public opinion, Wolfe convinced CBS4 in Denver to do a story about alleged mistreatment he received while incarcerated at Summit County jail.
The CBS investigative report, which aired Aug. 11, did not portray Wolfe as the victim and five days later he reached out to deputy district attorney John Franks to reopen plea negotiations.
“Perhaps he was hoping it (the CBS story) would come off as a poor Ray Wolfe story,” Franks said. “The pitter patter of jurors also gets a lot of defendants to change their minds about going to trial.”
Wolfe was scheduled to represent himself in the first of his 11 trials Tuesday.
Ultimately, however, Wolfe accepted the DA’s offer, and in addition to second-degree assault he pleaded guilty in three of those 10 jail-stay cases to one count each of first-degree possession of contraband, for claiming to deputies he was able to sneak a razor into the jail; attempting to influence a public official, for claiming kitchen staff placed a hair in one of his meals; and attempted retaliation against a victim or witness, for fighting with another inmate. All other cases and charges were dropped in accordance with the plea deal.
“It was the same deal we extended to Mr. Wolfe early on in the proceedings and although I told him he wouldn’t get a better deal if he decided to go to trial, my boss (District Attorney Bruce Brown) and I still thought it was a fair offer,” Franks said. “We weren’t as concerned about most of his behavior while at the jail and we think the evidence we have against him on the four charges is really solid.”
After sentencing, Thompson provided Wolfe with sobering advice, reminding Wolfe that he will still have several daughters to take care of when released from prison.
“I hope you will have the opportunity to find a way forward while you are incarcerated,” Thompson said. “I hope you make use of the time constructively, so you can beat your alcohol problem and move on with your life.
“You are a young man, and you will not be so old by the time you are released that you won’t still be able to be a father to your daughters.”
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