Unsealed court documents shine light on deadly Frisco motel fight | SummitDaily.com

Unsealed court documents shine light on deadly Frisco motel fight

Arrest records in the investigation of the death of Summit County resident Blake Bostic are now public, providing for the first time the details about what allegedly transpired during the early morning hours of Monday, April 14, at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. During a motions hearing in Summit County District Court Thursday, May 8, District Judge Karen Romeo ordered that the probable cause arrest affidavit for Charles Sattler, 42, of Michigan, be unsealed, provided the identities of eyewitnesses be redacted from the records. Sattler is the primary suspect in the alleged murder of Bostic. The Summit Daily News retained attorneys Chris Beall and Tom Kelley, partners with Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP in Denver, to file motions in April to have the case file unsealed. According to the warrantless arrest affidavit, Frisco Police Department officers responded at about 2:20 a.m. April 14 to a report of a fight in progress at the Snowshoe Motel. Upon their arrival at the scene, officers found a white man with a beard, later identified as Bostic, lying motionless on the ground in the rear parking lot of the motel. A second man, Ryan Stevens, was on top of Bostic crying and trying to use his cell phone. Stevens appeared intoxicated and also displayed signs of recovering from being recently knocked unconscious, records stated. Officers immediately began CPR and radioed for medical assistance. Officers performed CPR for about one to two minutes before EMS crews from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue arrived at the scene, records stated. While officers were providing initial medical assistance, Sattler and a friend, Charles Upchurch, 42, exited a room at the motel and began asking officers questions, according to court records. Officers ordered the men to return to their room. Once Lake Dillon firefighters were on scene and took control of medical services, officers questioned Stevens about what happened. Stevens said he and Bostic met Sattler and Upchurch at Ollie's Pub & Grub in Frisco. The four men were drinking together at the bar and then decided to return to Sattler and Upchurch's room at the Snowshoe Motel to continue drinking and to smoke marijuana, according to records. According to Stevens' statements at the scene, an argument broke out while they were at the motel. Stevens could not articulate the cause of the argument at the time, but told officers he was punched in the face and the next thing he knew he was lying on the ground outside. Initial interviews at the scene with Sattler and Upchurch confirmed the four men were drinking together at the neighborhood bar. Sattler and Upchurch told officers they were contractors with a construction company in Denver and had spent the weekend in Vail with a friend. Due to inclement weather that closed Interstate 70, they decided to get a room at the Snowshoe Motel, according to records. Bostic, a well-known chef in Summit County, at some point during the night sold Upchurch several bottles of homemade habanero hot sauce, or jelly, according to court records. Although it is not clear whether that transaction occurred at the bar or at the motel, Sattler told officers, "The jelly is what started this whole thing," according to records. Upchurch told officers he never wanted Bostic and Stevens to return to the motel with him and Sattler. According to his statements at the scene, there was an argument and the next thing he knew Bostic had punched him two or three times in the face. Sattler then stepped in. Records show Upchurch had swelling below his left eye and had two lacerations approximately 12 inches in length on his right forearm. Although Sattler maintained throughout the initial interview that he acted in self-defense, he also said to officers that he "hits like a champ," according to records. After making that statement, he turned to Upchurch and asked, "I do damage when I hit somebody, huh?" records stated. Upchurch then asked the officers present, "Don't you know who this is? That's Chuck Sattler. He's a pro fighter," according to records. Sattler admitted to being a semi-professional mixed martial arts fighter. When asked if he hit Bostic or Stevens, he replied, "I could have hit them. I know I hit the big dude and after that, who knows. I snapped. If I snapped I don't know what the (expletive) I did," according to records. Despite the vagueness of Sattler's and Upchurch's statements, two eyewitnesses, who will remain anonymous in accordance with Romeo's ruling, described a slightly different account of the alleged incident. According to their statements to police, the witnesses also were staying at the Snowshoe Motel and reported having difficulty sleeping beginning before 1 a.m. due to "party noises" coming from the unit next door. At about 2 a.m., one of the witnesses decided to walk next door and ask Sattler, Upchurch, Bostic and Stevens to quiet down. By the time that witness walked outside, the alleged fight had already spilled into the rear parking lot of the Snowshoe Motel. The witness reported seeing Stevens knocked out and lying on his truck, which was parked in the rear lot, according to records. Bostic also was knocked out and lying on the ground in the rear parking lot, the witness said. The witness told officers he watched as Sattler held Bostic up by the collar and punched him several times in the face, according to records. A third eyewitness, who also will remain anonymous, gave a similar report. That witness told officers that although he did not observe what happened inside the unit, he observed Sattler assaulting Bostic. Officers noted in their reports that Sattler had a cut and was bleeding from the knuckles on his right hand. First responders performed CPR at the scene for about 40 minutes, records stated. Bostic was then transported to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. According to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday, April 15, by the Summit County Coroner's Office, Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with a fight. Sattler and Upchurch were taken into police custody after the alleged fight. Upchurch was later released and not charged. Sattler is in custody at Summit County jail pending his June 26 bond hearing. The District Attorney's Office has requested bond in the amount of $250,000 given Sattler's unknown ties to the Summit County community. Sattler is charged in district court with one count each of second-degree murder, a Class 2 felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Colorado’s ‘Make My Day’ law invoked in Summit County murder case

The defense attorneys for Charles Lee Sattler, the suspect in the beating death of local chef Blake Bostic, requested the case be dismissed under a Colorado law called "Make My Day." The 1985 law is nicknamed for the catchphrase popularized by Clint Eastwood's iconic character "Dirty" Harry Callahan. Under that law, an occupant of a dwelling may use deadly force against an intruder when the occupant reasonably believes the intruder committed or intends to commit a crime in the dwelling beyond the uninvited entry and might use physical force against any occupant. Sattler, 42, appeared Monday, Nov. 24, before judge Karen Romeo in Summit County District Court with public defenders Sommer Spector and Stacy Shobe for a motions hearing. Sattler, a construction worker and amateur boxer, is charged with one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree assault stemming from an alleged fight during the early morning hours of April 14 at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. Romeo declined to make a ruling on the "Make My Day" motion Monday so she could further review the law and the evidence, including recordings from an interview between Sattler and the lead detective on the case. The defense also requested that specific statements made by Sattler and his friend Charles Upchurch, who was present at the alleged incident, be suppressed as evidence during a 12-member jury trial set for Jan. 20. That motion rested on whether Sattler's Miranda rights were violated. Miranda rights refer to a suspect's right to remain silent. Officers must make suspects aware of those rights before they are taken into custody or interrogated. "He (Sattler) made a lot of incriminating statements," said Rusty Prindle, deputy district attorney with the prosecution. "They (the defense attorneys) don't want the jury to hear that." Prindle argued that Sattler's comments at the motel about his prior fighting experience, a key aspect of the case, were voluntary. Prindle added that officers aren't required to recite the Miranda warning when asking general questions when they first arrive on scene. For the defense, Shobe argued that though Sattler was not placed under arrest, he was effectively in custody and was asked questions that could elicit incriminating answers. She also argued that the statements should be suppressed because none of the police officers recorded their initial interactions with Sattler. A handful of law enforcement officers directly involved in the case testified Monday as well as Bostic's friend Ryan Stevens, the fourth man present at the motel April 14. The officers said when they arrived at the scene around 2:20 a.m. they found Bostic lying unresponsive outside one of the motel's rooms. Then they talked to Sattler and Upchurch inside the room they had rented for the night; both men said it was there that Bostic attacked Upchurch. Sattler said he jumped in to defend his friend. Stevens, however, told the court Monday that Upchurch was the aggressor in an argument that police say started over hot sauce Bostic had been selling that night. Upchurch pushed Bostic three times, Stevens said, adding that he didn't see Bostic swing. Upchurch's third push sent Bostic, who stood 6 feet 9 inches tall, backwards into the wall, Stevens said. "At that point I was on my way to try to break it up," Stevens said, when "I was punched in the side of the face" by Sattler. Stevens said he doesn't remember anything until he woke up outside the motel with officers. He didn't recall how Upchurch received a cut on his face, how Bostic and Upchurch received cuts on their forearms or how hot sauce jars ended up broken outside. Bostic and Stevens met Sattler and Upchurch at Ollie's Pub and Grill about an hour before the incident, and when the bar closed the four intoxicated men moved to the motel. Soon a fight broke out inside Sattler's room and spilled out into the motel's back parking lot. According to police reports, witnesses saw Sattler holding Bostic up by the shirt collar and punching him repeatedly in the face. Bostic's body was limp and his arms were at his sides. First responders performed CPR for about 40 minutes at the scene before Bostic was rushed to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 3:20 a.m. Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma, according to an autopsy report. He was 38. Sattler remains in custody on $250,000 bond. He faces 16 to 48 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on the murder charge and up to 24 years on the assault charge if found guilty at trial and if crime-of-violence sentencing enhancers come into play. Romeo heard arguments for more than a dozen other "housekeeping" motions, then set another court date for Dec. 8 to give rulings on the leftover motions. She allowed Bostic's parents, who have traveled from Texas for every hearing, to call in and listen to courtroom proceedings that day.

Frisco homicide case could end soon with plea deal

A deal is pending for Charles Lee Sattler, the suspect in the April death of local chef Blake Bostic at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle declined to comment about the specifics of the plea bargain, as negotiations are ongoing. Sattler, 42, a construction worker and amateur boxer, appeared Monday, July 28, in custody before district judge Karen Romeo for a status conference. About a dozen of Bostic's friends and family members also attended the hearing. Public defender Stacy Shobe appeared with Sattler on behalf of colleague Sommer Spector, who was absent. Shobe asked the court to continue the case to provide Sattler time to consider the offer from the district attorney's office. "Given the current situation, I don't think two weeks is unreasonable," Prindle said. "I would ask if we do not reach a plea, that we set the case for trial at that time." Sattler is scheduled to return to district court at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11, for a disposition hearing. Sattler is charged with one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree assault stemming from a fight during the early morning hours of April 14 at the Snowshoe Motel. Sattler and a friend, Charles Upchurch, met Bostic and one of his friends, Ryan Stevens, at Ollie's Pub in Frisco. After the bar closed, the four men went to Sattler and Upchurch's room at the motel to have a drink and smoke marijuana, according to court records. Shortly after arriving at the Snowshoe Motel an argument broke out, allegedly over homemade hot sauce Bostic, a chef at Incline Bar & Grill located at the base of Copper Mountain Resort, was trying to sell to Sattler and Upchurch. The argument escalated into a fight, which moved outside to the rear parking lot of the motel. Sattler was seen holding Bostic up by the shirt collar and punching him repeatedly in the face, according to reports from unidentified eyewitnesses. Bostic's body was limp and his arms were at his sides, according to records. First responders performed CPR for about 40 minutes at the scene of the alleged crime, according to records, before Bostic was rushed to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 3:20 a.m. Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with a fight, according to a preliminary autopsy report. He was 38. Sattler remains in custody on $250,000 bond.

Frisco homicide suspect declines offer from district attorney’s office

Charles Lee Sattler, the suspect in the beating death of local chef Blake Bostic, has declined a plea bargain deal from the 5th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Sattler, 42, appeared Monday, Aug. 11, before judge Karen Romeo in Summit County District Court with public defender Stacy Shobe. During a status conference two weeks ago, Shobe asked the court for a continuance to give Sattler more time to consider the offer. "My office did tender an offer to Mr. Sattler that was outright rejected," said deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle. "I'm not satisfied that we will be able to reach a disposition in this case; not at this point." Prindle again declined to comment about the specifics of the deal, but said he would make the details of the offer public during the next hearing. Shobe asked the court to schedule that motions hearing at least 60 days out from today's date, saying she anticipated the motions the public defenders office planned to file would be complicated and require more time than usual to write. Prindle objected. "We want to see case move ahead more quickly and I do not think 45 days is an unreasonable timeframe for filing motions," he said. "Delays hinder the prosecution much more than they hinder the defense because witnesses move and people's memories can become faded." Romeo agreed, but said her docket was overrun with trials over the course of the next six weeks. She scheduled the motions hearing for 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 28. Despite Shobe's objections, Romeo granted a request by Prindle to also set the case for trial. Prindle estimated the trial would likely require seven days. Romeo scheduled Sattler's jury trial for Dec. 9-12 and Dec. 15-17. Sattler did not enter a plea during Monday's hearing. He will be arraigned immediately following October's motions hearing. Sattler, a construction worker and amateur boxer, is charged in district court with one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree assault stemming from an alleged fight during the early morning hours of April 14 at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. Sattler and a friend, Charles Upchurch, met Bostic and one of his friends, Ryan Stevens, at Ollie's Pub in Frisco. After the bar closed, the four men went to Sattler and Upchurch's room at the motel to have a drink and smoke marijuana, according to court records. Shortly after arriving at the Snowshoe Motel an argument broke out, allegedly over homemade hot sauce Bostic, a chef at Incline Bar & Grill located at the base of Copper Mountain Resort, was trying to sell to Sattler and Upchurch. The argument escalated into a fight, which moved outside to the rear parking lot of the motel. Sattler was seen holding Bostic up by the shirt collar and punching him repeatedly in the face, according to reports from unidentified eyewitnesses. Bostic's body was limp and his arms were at his sides, according to records. First responders performed CPR for about 40 minutes at the scene of the alleged crime, according to records, before Bostic was rushed to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 3:20 a.m. Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with a fight, according to a preliminary autopsy report. He was 38. Sattler remains in custody on $250,000 bond.

Witnesses present varying accounts of Frisco murder scene

After a jury was selected Wednesday morning, four witnesses were brought to the stand to testify at the trial of Charles Sattler, a 43-year-old construction worker and former amateur MMA fighter charged with second-degree murder following the death of Copper Mountain chef Blake Bostic. "I want you to hear what happened in this case from the people who were actually there, so I'm going to keep my story short," deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle said in his opening statement, before presenting the prosecution's first witness, Sgt. Russ Arnold of the Frisco Police Department. Arnold, the first officer to arrive at the scene the night of Bostic's death, said he was on his "graveyard shift" when he was called to the Snowshoe Motel around 2:20 a.m. He was called over by a couple in the neighboring motel room, who awoke that night to sounds of a struggle, and saw Sattler punching Bostic just outside of their room, Prindle said. "When I first arrived on scene to this call, I came around the corner to the backside of the Snowshoe by the alley. I saw a large male with a beard and long hair lying on his back … There was a smaller man on top of him, bleeding out of his mouth, crying and trying to rouse him," Arnold recalled. Focusing first on medical attention, Arnold approached Bostic, noticing that he was non-responsive. He first saw that Bostic's lips were purple, his face was pale, and he had a thin trail of blood coming out of the right side of his mouth. Bostic's eyes were open, but he was not breathing and had a faint, slow pulse, Arnold said. He added that Bostic's leg was contorted in such a manner that he believed it was broken, with his ankle at an "impossible" angle. Arnold performed CPR to attempt to resuscitate Bostic until medics arrived. Then, he proceeded to interview Ryan Stevens, Bostic's friend who was reportedly sitting outside near his body. "When I first got there he was bleeding, crying, talking on the phone and shaking," Arnold said of Stevens. "He seemed really upset … I think he had been drinking. I couldn't understand all of what he was saying; he seemed really distraught and injured." He reported that Stevens thought he had been "cold-cocked," or knocked unconscious, having no memory following what he claimed was a hit by Sattler. "He said he remembered an argument and the next thing he knew he was lying in the snow and the cops were there," Arnold added. Entering Sattler and Charles Upchurch's room at the Snowshoe Motel, Room 46, Arnold said the two men were cooperative. He first noticed two long lacerations on Upchurch's right forearm, and two "scabby" scratches on his face, with two fresh marks and some swelling under his left eye. Sattler was unscathed, aside from some bleeding on his right-middle knuckle, and was using a rag to stop the bleeding. There were no weapons at the scene. Arnold reported that both Sattler and Upchurch declined medical attention, and both Bostic and Stevens were transported to Frisco's St. Anthony Medical Center. In an interview with Arnold, Sattler said that Bostic, standing at 6 feet, 9 inches, hit Upchurch repeatedly before he intervened. Arnold also noted Sattler said, "I hit like a champ," and then turned to Upchurch, saying, "I do damage when I hit somebody, huh?" Upchurch responded by announcing that Sattler was a semi-professional MMA fighter. "I hit the big guy and after that, who knows. I snapped, and when I snap, I don't know what the (expletive) I did," Sattler said later. Surveying the room, Arnold showed the jury a photo of a jar of habanero jelly found at the motel room, as well as some loose marijuana on a table by an ashtray. "Mr. Sattler told me is that 'the jelly is what started the whole thing,'" Arnold concluded. "They both seemed a little lighthearted." Deputy Eric Sipes, of the Summit County Sheriff's Office, was the next witness called to the stand. Sipes said he was called to the scene of an "assault in progress," which turned into a "medical" as he drove over around 2:30 a.m. "When I initially approached, Mr. Stevens was lying on ground, moaning in pain. I noticed his upper lip was swollen, and there was dried blood around mouth," Sipes said. "I noticed smell of alcohol as he spoke, and the smell of fresh (unsmoked) marijuana on his person." Sipes did not interview the two men, but took photos to document any injuries and listened in on their conversation. He said both men had bloodshot eyes, with the odor of alcohol on their breath, and added that Sattler's speech was slightly slurred. He also noticed some blood on the cabinets in the back of the room, by the bathroom. "They both seemed a little lighthearted — almost like they were joking back and forth between each other. There was a lot of laughing when they were talking," Sipes said. He added that Sattler said, "That's what that (expletive) gets for trying to roll us," possibly referring to Bostic overcharging the men for the habanero hot sauce or starting a fight. In response to a cross-examination by public defender Stacy Shobe, he confirmed that Sattler also said, "(expletive) yeah, I was defending myself," speaking to his right to self-defense when faced with conflict. In her opening statement Shobe said, "with every punch that Mr. Bostic threw at Mr. Upchurch, Mr. Sattler saw his friend's head bob back and back and back like a PEZ dispenser," referring to Sattler's words in a recorded phone conversation. Conflicting accounts Accounts of how the fight started do not match, as seen in discrepancies between the testimonies of Stevens and Sgt. Ahmet Susic, a longtime officer with the Frisco Police Department. Susic said Upchurch continually repeated that he was attacked by Bostic the night that he arrived on the scene. "Upchurch opened the door to the room. As soon as he opened the door, I observed some lacerations on his face," Susic said. "He kept saying, 'I was attacked, I was attacked.' I couldn't understand most of it. I could smell the alcohol on him." He added that Sattler said Bostic attacked Upchurch, punching him in the face several times. Susic said that Sattler said he was defending his friend, adding "I guess I knocked him (Bostic) out." Stevens, on the other hand, maintains that Bostic never hit Upchurch. After meeting and having a few drinks at Ollie's Pub and Grub in Frisco, Stevens said they walked back to the motel to "smoke some weed and continue the conversation about the hot sauce" that Bostic was trying to sell Upchurch. Standing by the doorway, Stevens said he was chatting with Sattler, with no argument, when he heard Bostic and Upchurch break into a fight at the other side of the room. He claimed he saw Upchurch run at Bostic three times, with Bostic standing his ground, pushing Upchurch back, but not throwing a punch. "I was moving towards the altercation to try to intervene, and I was hit on the left side of my face in the jaw. And that's the last thing I can remember," Stevens said. After waking up and calling the police, Stevens said he turned Bostic on his side in an attempt to revive him to make sure his airway was not blocked. "Mr. Bostic was one of my good friends, coworkers and roommate at the time that he … was passed," Stevens said, voice breaking. Bostic was 38 when he died that morning, with closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma. Both Bostic and Stevens worked at the Incline Bar and Grill, located at the base of Copper Mountain.

Summit County District Court unseals records in Frisco homicide case

Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo ruled Thursday, May 8, to unseal certain records in the investigation into the death of Summit County resident Blake Bostic. As of Thursday, Charles Sattler, 42, of Michigan, is the primary suspect in the case. He appeared in custody Thursday for a motions hearing in Summit County District Court with Sommer Spector of the Colorado Public Defender's Office in Dillon. The Summit Daily News retained attorneys Chris Beall and Tom Kelley, partners with Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP in Denver, to file a motion to have Sattler's case file unsealed. On Thursday, Romeo ruled in favor of that motion. Specifically, Romeo ordered the arrest affidavit be made public. However, Romeo accepted a condition raised by deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle that the names of at least two eyewitnesses to the alleged crime be redacted from the records for their personal safety. The Summit Daily did not dispute that request. Spector also argued that two additional documents should remain sealed — Sattler's criminal history and a letter from one of the lead detectives to District Attorney Bruce Brown. Romeo granted those requests as well. The Summit Daily News has already acquired a copy a Sattler's criminal history from his home state of Michigan. Insight into what allegedly happened during the early morning hours of Monday, April 14, are pending as clerks at the Summit County Combined Courts office are currently redacting the records that have been made public. Bostic, 38, was allegedly involved in a dispute that turned violent at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. He was pronounced dead at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center later that morning. According to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday, April 15, by the coroner's office, Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt-force trauma consistent with a fight. Sattler remains in custody at Summit County jail pending his June 26 bond hearing. The district attorney's office has requested bond in the amount of $250,000 given Sattler's unknown ties to the Summit County community. Sattler is charged in district court with one count each of second-degree murder, a Class 2 felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Frisco motel homicide charges against Charles Lee Sattler headed for trial

Charges stemming from a deadly fight at a Frisco motel will go to trial, a district judge ruled Thursday. Judge Karen Romeo said there is enough evidence to move forward with second-degree murder and first-degree assault charges pending against Charles Lee Sattler, a 42-year-old construction worker and former amateur boxer from Michigan accused of beating Frisco resident Blake Bostic to death on April 14. Sattler appeared Thursday in Summit County District Court with public defenders Sommer Spector and Stacy Shobe for a preliminary hearing. About 30 of Bostic's friends and family members attended the four-and-a-half-hour-long hearing, during which the court heard testimony from Frisco police officer Russell Arnold, who was the first to respond to the scene, and Frisco police Det. Julie Polly, who is the lead investigator on the case. Polly interviewed Sattler, Sattler's friend Charles Upchurch, Bostic's friend Ryan Stevens and two other unidentified eyewitnesses in the hours and days after the alleged fight. During a preliminary hearing, it is the burden of the prosecution to provide evidence to show there is probable cause to try a defendant on the filed charges. Both second-degree murder and first-degree assault require several elements of proof. Arguably the most significant of those elements is whether Sattler was aware that his actions could result in the serious bodily injury and death of Bostic. Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle argued he did, given testimony in which Sattler told law enforcement officers about his prior experience and training as an amateur boxer. "Is that relevant? Absolutely," Prindle said. "It's absolutely a relevant fact a jury could use to determine probable cause." The most compelling evidence, Prindle said, were statements allegedly made by Sattler to law enforcement officers at the scene or during his interrogation with Polly. Prindle highlighted several of those quotes during his closing argument to show Sattler was aware his actions could have resulted in Bostic's death: • "I saw the big dude (Bostic) smashing my buddy in the face, so I smashed him in the (expletive) head." • "I smashed him (Bostic) to the ground. I hit him at least twice (before Bostic went to the ground)." • "I hit like a champ." • "I snapped. If I snapped, I don't know what the (expletive) I did." • "I hit hard for my size. Usually if I hit you, something breaks." On cross examination, Shobe and Spector focused their efforts on quashing statements made by two unidentified eyewitnesses, discrediting Stevens, who was intoxicated at the time of the alleged incident and during initial interviews with law enforcement, and arguing that Sattler's alleged actions were done in self-defense. Spector cited statements made by Upchurch and referenced in police reports that the alleged incident was instigated by an argument between Upchurch and Bostic. The two pushed each other several times, Spector said, before Bostic punched Upchurch in the face at least three times. Spector also cited statements made by Sattler to Polly that he was intimidated by the much larger Bostic, who stood 6 feet, 9 inches tall, and was worried about his friend when he saw Upchurch's head rock back with each of Bostic's alleged blows. Spector argued Sattler was simply coming to the aid of a friend when he jumped into the fight and moved it out of the hotel room. But Prindle countered saying the two unidentified eyewitnesses reported to law enforcement they watched as Sattler allegedly held Bostic up by his shirt collar and punched him several times in the face. According to reports, the eyewitnesses said Bostic was on the ground in the rear parking lot at the time, his body was limp, his arms were at his sides and he made no effort to resist Sattler's alleged assault. "A defendant is no longer entitled to (an argument of) self-defense when there is no longer a threat," Prindle said. "According to Det. Polly and officer Arnold's testimony, Mr. Bostic was not offering any resistance. "When a person is offering no resistance, it is no longer self-defense, it becomes an assault and an assault in this case that ended in a homicide." Romeo ultimately sided with the district attorney's office, saying it met its burden to show probable cause of both charges. Sattler is scheduled to return to court at 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 28, for a disposition hearing. Flight risk? The court then addressed a motion by the public defender to have Sattler's bond reduced from $250,000 to $100,000. Spector noted Sattler's eight years of on-and-off contract work with a Denver construction company in arguing the defendant is not a flight risk. In accordance with Colorado victim's rights laws, Bostic's mother, Ruth Yeager, was allowed to address the court during the bond hearing. She asked the court to keep bond at $250,000, saying she thinks Sattler is a flight risk given his loose ties to Colorado, the nature of the offenses and his potential prison sentence. Sattler is facing 16 to 48 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on the murder charge and up to 24 years on the assault charge if found guilty at trial and if crime-of-violence sentencing enhancers come into play, Prindle said. Yeager also said she thinks Sattler, if released on bond, would flee to his home state of Michigan, where he would have the personal and financial resources to make an escape to nearby Canada. "I would imagine he (Sattler) would want to hightail it out of Summit County if released on bail," Yeager said. "The state line would be his next destination and then his home state of Michigan. "My son was not allowed to get up and walk away from this alleged assault," Yeager said as she turned to look directly at Sattler. "He died." Romeo noted arguments raised by Yeager and the prosecution in ruling to keep bail at $250,000. The morning of April 14 Bostic and Stevens met Sattler and Upchurch during the early morning hours of April 14 at Ollie's Pub in Frisco. After closing, the four decided to go to Sattler and Upchurch's room at the Snowshoe Motel to have a drink and smoke marijuana, according to court testimony. Shortly after arriving at the Snowshoe Motel an argument broke out, allegedly over homemade hot sauce Bostic, a chef at Incline Bar & Grill located at the base of Copper Mountain Resort, was trying to sell to Sattler and Upchurch. The argument escalated into a fight. First responders performed CPR for about 40 minutes at the scene of the alleged crime, according to court testimony, before Bostic was rushed to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. Bostic was pronounced dead at 3:20 a.m. Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with a fight, according to a preliminary autopsy report. He was 38.

Court awaits jury decision following closing statements in Frisco murder trial

Charles Sattler awaits a final verdict as jury deliberation continues after Tuesday's closing statements. The jury will decide whether he should be convicted on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault in connection with Blake Bostic's death in April 2014. "Sattler was engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death to another person," said deputy district attorney Alexandra Deitz of the fight at Frisco's Snowshoe Motel. The prosecution's goal was to prove Sattler "knowingly and recklessly" caused Bostic's death, beyond a reasonable doubt, to prove charges of second-degree murder. "He knew his own strength," Deitz said, pointing to statements from Sattler's previous interviews such as "I hit twice as hard as most people," "I guess he (Bostic) fell after I knocked him the (expletive) out," and, "when I lose it, I lose it." The prosecution pointed to these statements as support the claim that Sattler was aware of the potential outcome of his actions. But, public defender Thea Reiff said that Sattler was not aware of Bostic's death when he made these comments. "There is a level of boastfulness and puffery going on when Sattler brags that he successfully defended a friend, not that someone died," Reiff said. In her closing statement, she argued that Sattler acted in defense of his friend, Charles Upchurch, who was punched multiple times by Bostic, according to statements by Sattler and Upchurch. Sattler, a former amateur MMA fighter, participated in five matches in his lifetime, according to testimony by his aunt. His last match was 15 years ago. "He did snap," Reiff said. "He snapped into action when he saw his friend being violently attacked. He acted within the bounds of the law. You don't lose your right to defend your friend, you don't lose your right to defend yourself, just because you boxed in your 20s." She added that in an interview with Frisco Police detective Julie Polly, Sattler pointed to Bostic as the initial aggressor, saying "his buddy's face was going back and back and back." According to Colorado statute on self-defense, the requirement to use physical force for the defense of the self or another is that the defendant must reasonably believe that attacker used "imminent or unlawful physical force." The statute also requires that the response by the defendant must be a "degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose," believing that a lesser degree of force is inadequate, and that they were in "imminent danger" of being killed or severely injured. Multiple accounts Emphasizing that several witnesses presented varying accounts of what happened that night, Deitz called into question the validity of Upchurch's testimony. "Blake Bostic was in danger. Mr. Upchurch has no knowledge of what happened out there. He has no memory of the event and no credibility," Deitz said, referring to a statement by Upchurch that he had been knocked out from a punch by Bostic. While Upchurch claimed he never saw Sattler land a punch, Bostic's friend and coworker, Ryan Stevens, claimed Upchurch started the fight. He said Upchurch shoved Bostic several times, but Bostic never punched him. Like Upchurch, Stevens also claimed memory loss of the incident due to a punch to the head by Sattler. Deitz pointed to the testimony of two anonymous witnesses who were staying at the Snowshoe Motel that same night, who claimed they saw Bostic lying on the ground, unconscious, being punched in the face by Sattler. "This was not a fight … this was an assault," Deitz said. "The defendant didn't stop when it was over, when Mr. Bostic was done. When the only reason (Bostic) wasn't down on the ground was because Mr. Sattler held him up by the collar and hit him again and again." With Bostic standing at 6 feet, 9 inches tall, the defense said discrepancy between his and Upchurch's shorter height explained Sattler's reason for intervening. But, Deitz added, "The height of Mr. Bostic, once he's lying on the ground, being struck repeatedly, doesn't make a difference." "The tragic result of this is Blake Bostic is dead," Deitz concluded, prompting sniffling and tears from the gallery. "The defendant's response, after he had beaten the life out of Blake Bostic, is to go back in his motel room, lock the door and wait." A matter of seconds "A few seconds. That's something everyone agrees on in this case. That's how long the fight lasted," Reiff closed. "Mr. Sattler acted on instinct in a matter of seconds." Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle disputed these claims in a closing rebuttal argument, saying that the incident may have lasted from 30 to 45 seconds based on Sattler's testimony in an interview with Polly. "How long does it take for someone to get beaten to death when they're hit in the head?" Prindle asked. "Even if Mr. Sattler did have a right (to self defense) at one point in time, it ended. … It should have ended out that doorway." He added that Sattler once mentioned, in an interview with a police officer, dragging Bostic outside. "How could somebody be a threat to somebody if they have to drag them out of the room?" Prindle asked the jury. Reiff maintained that Sattler acted in defense of Upchurch, adding that in recorded interviews and phone conversations, Sattler never changed his reasoning from defending his friend and clearing the motel room. "Self-defense is a right that you all have, that we all have. The defense of others is a right that we all have," Reiff said. "It's not a right that's grounded in deliberation; it's a right that is there to sanction and justify the need to act on instinct to protect somebody." She added that Sattler's actions were not in extreme indifference, as it would be extreme indifference "to ignore that his friend was being beaten in the face over and over and over." With the final words of the rebuttal, family and friends filed out of the courtroom, to wait. The jury paused their deliberations around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. They will resume at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Hung jury ends Frisco murder trial with no verdict

Deadlocked on multiple charges, a hung jury ended Charles Sattler's trial on Thursday. The jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict on any of the charges, including second-degree murder, first-degree assault and manslaughter, before Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo declared a mistrial. "I think everybody has been exemplary," Romeo said. "This has been a very trying case." Around 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Romeo asked each individual juror if they were able to come up with a unanimous verdict. Each responded "no" in turn, leading Romeo to dismiss the jury, shocking members of the gallery. Just an hour later, the court reconvened after questioning jurors after they were dismissed, with the possibility of a verdict. However, each juror once again verified that there was no agreement on any of the charges. "It could just be one person. That's all it takes," said deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle. Court officials reported that the disagreement was between more than one person, with no individual charge posing more of a challenge than others. On Wednesday, the jury's forewoman reported that, while the jury had made some progress, "there are some people who feel they will not change their mind, no matter what." The jury had been deliberating for nearly three days before they were dismissed on Thursday. They posed several questions throughout the week and listened a second time to recorded interviews and phone calls of Sattler speaking with detectives and family. Thursday morning, the judge clarified that they did not need to have the same verdict in all counts but merely unanimity in each individual charge. Romeo brought them in for a second question that afternoon, clarifying that former Incline Bar & Grill chef Blake Bostic was the only presumed victim of the case, after he died on April 14, 2014, following a fight at the Snowshoe Motel. Bostic's family had high hopes that morning for seeing a verdict, as the jury reported further progress after Romeo provided them with legal instructions to prompt jurors to reexamine the case and work toward a verdict. "It was a long week and a half, and I know how hard you worked and how diligent you were," Romeo addressed the jurors. Sattler has been in jail for 428 days leading up to the trial, according to public defender Thea Reiff. A retrial must be set within 90 days. Family Forever Throughout the trial, Bostic's family wore white rubber wristbands that read, "Frisco family forever." Before the mistrial was declared, all sat in the gallery, heads bowed. Sattler's family sat on the opposite side, with a similar gravity in that suspenseful moment. Ruth Yeager, Bostic's mother, bore the wooden turtle necklace that he always wore, including at the time of his death. She revealed the chain where the necklace was cut, saying, "This is where the coroner cut it…. So I didn't undo his knot." After the mistrial was announced, Bostic's family gathered outside of the courtroom, sharing several hugs and tears. "It's not OK… but, it has to be," they comforted his sister. The family will return to Texas this week. Several of Bostic's friends appeared throughout the course of the trial. A chef who worked with him at the Solitude Grill in Copper remembered the "wild hors d'oeuvres" Bostic would make when he hosted dinners and poker parties. "I loved Blake like a brother. He was the oldest friend I ever had," another wrote on Bostic's Facebook following the mistrial. Bostic was a chef at the Incline Bar & Grill before he died the morning of April 14, 2014, following an alleged fight at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. Accounts of the incident varied from witness to witness, with Bostic's friend, Ryan Stevens, claiming he never saw Bostic throw a punch, while Sattler's friend, Charles Upchurch, claimed that he never saw Sattler fight. According to Sattler's account, he intervened in a fight that started between Bostic and Upchurch related to a jar of habanero hot sauce they had bought from Bostic earlier that night. He claimed he stepped in after Upchurch had been punched in the face three times, with the intention of defending his friend and getting Bostic and Upchurch outside of his motel room. But two anonymous witnesses who were staying next door the Snowshoe Motel that night said they saw Bostic laying outside on the ground, unresponsive, while Sattler stood over him, punching him in the face and neck. Both Upchurch and Stevens showed bruising and cuts to their faces, while Sattler's sole injury was a bleeding knuckle on his right hand. Bostic died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to a forensic pathologist, with hemorrhaging in several areas. The court will reconvene Monday at 11:30 a.m. to set a date for a retrial that will take place in the next 90 days. Romeo estimated that the second trial will last between 9 and 10 days.

Summit County judge to consider motion to unseal records in Frisco homicide case

Charles Sattler appeared Monday, April 28, before 5th Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo for a hearing, in which the court was expected to rule on a motion to unseal certain records pertaining to the investigation of the death of Summit County resident Blake Bostic. The motion was submitted to the court Friday, April 18, by attorney Chris Beall, a partner with Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP in Denver. The Summit Daily News retained Beall after Romeo signed off on a motion filed Tuesday, April 15, by the 5th Judicial District Attorney's Office to temporarily seal the case file. Specifically, the Summit Daily requested the court make Sattler's arrest affidavit available for inspection. In a written response dated Friday, April 25, the district attorney's office said it would not oppose a ruling to unseal those documents, as long as the identities of witnesses are redacted from the records. The district attorney cited concerns about witness safety given the nature of the alleged crime. During Monday's hearing, Tom Kelley, also of Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz, told the court the Summit Daily would honor the district attorney's request and ensure witnesses remain anonymous in its reporting until the case goes to trial. However, Romeo was not prepared to make a ruling about the motion, saying she had not yet fully considered the Summit Daily's 15-page motion and its 59 pages of accompanying exhibits. The Colorado Public Defender's Office in Dillon also submitted a written response to the Summit Daily's motion, Romeo said. Public defender Sommer Spector said her office is requesting the court file remain sealed. The argument to keep the file sealed is unclear, as the public defender's response was not available by press time. Romeo scheduled Sattler's next hearing for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 8, at which time she will hear arguments from all sides about the Summit Daily's motion to unseal court records. Romeo also set a preliminary hearing for 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 26. A bond hearing also will take place at 2 p.m. that day. After Monday's hearing, 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown spoke briefly about his office's motion to seal Sattler's arrest affidavit. During Sattler's advisement hearing on April 15, deputy district attorney John Franks said he anticipates the public defender to argue Bostic's death was the result of self-defense. Although the case remains under investigation by the Frisco Police Department, Brown said witness reports suggest evidence of "gratuitous violence well beyond self-defense." The DA argued the motion to seal court records was made to protect the safety of witnesses as investigators continue to try to determine what happened the night Bostic died. Sattler, 42, remains in custody at Summit County jail pending his June 26 bond hearing. The district attorney's office has requested bond in the amount of $250,000 given Sattler's unknown ties to the Summit County community. Sattler is charged in Summit County District Court with one count each of second-degree murder, a Class 2 felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. The charges stem from an unknown dispute that allegedly turned violent during the early morning hours of Monday, April 14, at the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco. Bostic, 38, was rushed to Summit Medical Center after the incident where he was later pronounced dead. According to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday, April 15, by the Summit County Coroner's Office, Bostic died of closed head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with a fight.