Summit County District Court one day closer to finding jury for Frisco murder trial
June 17, 2015
The Summit County District court continues to narrow down a jury for the trial of Charles Sattler, a former semi-professional MMA fighter charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault following the death of local chef Blake Bostic.
On Tuesday, the court continued interviews with potential jurors, asking about their background, media consumption and any ties to investigators or witnesses in the case. The proceedings continued after 6 p.m., with a continuation of the interviews scheduled for Wednesday morning.
"I know it's late, but this is a very important, very significant case that we've put a lot of time and energy into, and we want to get it right," Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo said.
Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle and public defender Thea Reiff questioned a smaller pool of 28 potential jurors to identify any potential conflicts with the case.
"What if you were fighting somebody, and you were defending yourself, and all of a sudden that person stops fighting — what would you do?" Prindle asked one juror.
"It's difficult to say I would stop if the other person stopped. Is alcohol involved or not?" he responded.
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The question came in light of claims by two unidentified witnesses who said they saw Sattler hold Bostic by his shirt collar and punch Bostic several times in the face. But, defenders maintain that Sattler intervened on behalf of his friend, Charles Upchurch, who allegedly got into a fight with Bostic before he was punched at least three times in the face.
Prior to the incident, which took place in April 2014, Upchurch and Sattler met Bostic and a friend at Ollie's Pub in Frisco. The four men went back to the Snowshoe Motel in Frisco, where Upchurch and Sattler were staying, when a fight broke out and spilled into the parking lot, and Bostic was found dead with head and neck injuries due to blunt force trauma.
Regarding two crucial factors in the case, Reiff stepped forward to ask jurors their thoughts on the defense of another and the use of deadly force. She asked whether jurors distinguished between self-defense and the defense of another person, and whether deadly force would be lawful in those situations. Several jurors responded that they would not justify using deadly force to defend a stranger but would use deadly force in the defense of a family member.
"My life experience has never put me into a situation to conceive of using deadly force. I can't conceive of it," one man responded.
"There is always an opportunity to step back and resolve it in another way," another woman responded. Several jurors mentioned notifying police or calling for help.
Citing precedent from a 1991 Colorado Supreme Court case Idrogo v. People, Reiff reminded the court that "Colorado is a no duty to retreat state," meaning that a victim of assault is not obligated to retreat before using deadly force.
Judge Romeo also shared a Colorado statute on self defense, noting that a requirement for using physical force for self-defense or the defense of another person are that the defendant must reasonably believe that the 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 or another person was in "imminent danger" of being killed or severely injured.
Both the prosecution and defense may remove seven jurors from the pool of 28 based on their responses, to bring down the final jury to a total of 14 — 12 jurors and two alternates. Four potential jurors were eliminated Tuesday based on a strong disbelief in the lawful use of deadly force and the admission that if Sattler did not speak at the trial, they might potentially hold his silence against him.
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