Machete attack victim expresses sympathy for 16-year-old suspect
Ryan Summerlin July 10, 2014
The charges against Tyrus Walter Vanmatre, one of two suspects in the alleged Swan Mountain machete attack, have been amended to include two counts of felony kidnapping.
Vanmatre, 20, of Littleton, is now charged with nine felonies and also faces one count of attempted first-degree murder. He is in custody without bond.
Vanmatre was arrested and accused of luring an 18-year-old man into the woods along Swan Mountain Road in Summit County and attempting to kill him with the help of a 16-year-old accomplice.
A sheriff’s office deputy found the victim around 3 a.m. on June 17. He was covered in blood and had deep cuts on his face and hand.
According to the arrest report, the victim waved down a deputy and told him, “Please help me. They’re trying to kill me.”
During a status conference Monday, July 7, in Summit County District Court, deputy district attorney John Franks requested a joint preliminary hearing for Vanmatre and 16-year-old Brodi Olson, the second suspect in the case, to avoid hearing the same testimony twice, but district judge Mark Thompson decided to schedule the hearings one after the other.
Vanmatre’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, right after Olson’s hearing at 8:30 a.m.
AN OUTSPOKEN VICTIM
Jadon “JJ” Jellis, the alleged vicitm in the attack, has been a consistent presence in the courtroom. The Denver man also hasn’t hesitated in talking with the media and voicing his opinions.
In court Monday, Jellis listened as Vanmatre’s mother accused him of firing a gun in the air outside her Littleton home Sunday night.
Jellis later dismissed the accusation, saying “she’s stupid” and “why the (expletive) would I do that?”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident but closed the case after not finding evidence to support her claim. Jellis said he stayed at Vanmatre’s mother’s house for about a week before the attack, back when the two young men talked about finding an apartment together.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Jellis continued to tell his side of the story.
When asked what could have prompted the attack, which left him with staples in his head and stitches in his hand, he said “probably my money.”
He recently sold a house and made about $50,000, according to the arrest warrant for Vanmatre.
Jellis said Vanmatre and Olson “stole literally all my money, my wallet, my everything.”
His family members in Denver are “broke as (expletive),” he said, and now “I don’t even have enough money to get pain meds.”
He would not say how much money he thinks Vanmatre and Olson took from him, but he said they found thousands hidden in his car.
“I know exactly down to the (expletive) cent how much they stole from me,” he said. “I mean it’s a lot.”
No charges have been filed in connection with Jellis’s theft claims.
SYMPATHY FOR THE SUSPECT
Though Jellis said he would like to fight both of his alleged attackers, he expressed sympathy for Olson.
“I’m trying to put myself in Brodi’s shoes,” Jellis said. “Brodi got pulled into this by one of his friends…which is a really bad thing, but he’s only 16 years old.”
“I know it’s (expletive) up and all,” he continued, “but do I want to end his life? Do I want to have him spend the rest of his life in prison because he made one bad decision?”
Jellis said he’s had a taste of what it’s like to suffer the consequences.
“I was in jail for a week, and that scared the (expletive) out of me,” he said, later clarifying that he was arrested for marijuana possession. “Brodi was just like me like two years ago…He’s just a teenager trying to hang out.”
In court, Jellis said, Olson looked at him once and then looked at the ground.
“He’s just scared. I know he regrets it. I know it,” Jellis said. “It just sucks. I wish he hadn’t been part of it.”
He said he told Brown he didn’t want Olson to be tried as an adult. (The district attorney’s office closed the juvenile case and refiled it in district court.)
Describing the attack, however, he said Olson was the one who tased him and hit him with a machete. “Brodi is the only one that did anything.”
Vanmatre tried to hit him, he said, but “I was (expletive) up Tyrus the whole time.”
“I used to wrestle,” he said, describing how he tackled Vanmatre and repeatedly stabbed him.
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