BREAKING: Charles Sattler found not guilty on all counts in Blake Bostic’s death
Charles Sattler, a 43-year-old Denver man charged with manslaughter and first-degree assault following a fight at Frisco’s Snowshoe Motel, was found not guilty of both counts on Thursday.
The jury had deliberated for one day the Eagle County Justice Center. Sattler’s family and friend Charles Upchurch gathered on one side of the gallery, while the family of Blake Bostic, the Incline Bar & Grill chef who died after the incident, gathered at the opposite end.
After the verdict was read at 4 p.m., Sattler leaned back and breathed out a sigh of relief. His family burst into tears.
Bostic’s family gathered outside of the courtroom, with many tears and questions among them. Neither family would comment.
“It was a little bit of a surprise,” deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle said. “We thought we put on a good case.”
However, he added that he respected the jury’s decisions.
“They took the case seriously, looked at the evidence and applied it to the law,” he said.
The trial marked the second attempt to reach a verdict since Sattler was arrested in April of 2014. During a trial last June, a hung jury was unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial. At that time, Sattler also faced a second-degree murder charge, but the charge was later dropped and the location changed for the retrial.
“I can say that we are pleased with the verdict and happy Mr. Sattler is going home,” public defender Thea Reiff said. “This was a tragic and difficult case from all sides but we believe the jury followed the law and reached the right result.”
Throughout the course of the trial, Reiff and public defender Stacy Shobe argued that Sattler’s actions were justified as self-defense under the law. According to Sattler’s statements in interviews with law enforcement, he had defended Upchurch after a verbal dispute escalated into a fight, with Bostic throwing punches at Upchurch.
“He acted to save his friend; we’ve heard no other motivation as to why he would do what he did,” Reiff said in her closing argument. “If that’s the best they can get … that is not evidence of a guilty mind.”
Prindle and deputy district attorney Alexandra Deitz’s argument hinged on eyewitness testimony from a couple, who wished to remain anonymous, staying in the motel room next door. They said after hearing the scuffle, they looked out the window to see Sattler holding an unconscious Bostic by the collar of his shirt and punching him in the face.
In his closing, Prindle argued that Sattler’s actions were not self-defense but reckless retaliation.
“Where’s the threat against Mr. Sattler?” Prindle asked the jury, noting that Sattler’s sole injury was a bruise to his right knuckle.
Now acquitted, Sattler will not have to face another trial, having spent a total of 535 days in jail waiting for a verdict.
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