Keystone man gets three years in friend’s death
BRECKENRIDGE – Ariel Hamm-Flores wiped away a tear as he was sentenced to three years in prison for his hand in the death of Daniel Golterman, who died of a methadone overdose in Keystone March 2.
Golterman’s father, Ed, who flew in from St. Louis for the sentencing Monday morning, said the family would pray for the 25-year-old man, and passed him a card on which was printed a prayer.
“There is no sentence I can impose to give justice to the family; I wish I could,” said Summit District Court Judge David Lass. “I have the authority to reject this, and I’m having some difficulty in deciding whether to accept this or not. I will, although, I emphasize, reluctantly. Three years is not enough. This is clearly the case of lifestyle choices that ended tragically. Your lifestyle choices led to the death of this young man.”
Hamm-Flores, who pleaded guilty last month to negligent homicide, could have received from one to six years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Golterman said his family felt the sentence was fair.
“It tells us the county took this very seriously,” he said, his eyes welling with tears. “He did not walk free. We will go back and report that Summit County did right by Daniel.”
The younger Golterman was 25 when he died of an overdose of methadone, a synthetic drug given to heroin addicts to wean them from the narcotic. Golterman obtained the drug from Hamm-Flores, who was staying with him in Sagebrush employee housing in Keystone.
Prosecutors said they felt Hamm-Flores deserved the three-year sentence because not only did he supply Golterman with the drug, but because there was a six-hour gap between the time he awoke to find Golterman in distress and the time emergency officials arrived to help the man.
By that time, however, it was too late.
Deputy District Attorney Rachel Fresquez said Hamm-Flores found Golterman in distress at 6 a.m. March 2, but took a shower before trying to wake the man. Recognizing his friend was in trouble, Hamm-Flores attempted CPR, then opened the windows to the condominium and applied snow to Golterman’s body in an attempt to revive him.
Hamm-Flores called 911, but failed to indicate where Golterman was; emergency responders were unable to find the man, who was left alone while Hamm-Flores went to the Last Lift Bar at 10:45 a.m. to notify others of Golterman’s condition. Emergency responders were again called at noon; Golterman was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.
“The only person who had control over those six hours didn’t call 911 to get help to Daniel,” Fresquez said. “And instead of standing up for what he did, he says it was a case of two drug addicts meeting each other and bad timing. He didn’t take responsibility for giving Daniel the methadone, he didn’t take responsibility for the delay in reporting.”
Prosecutors also cited Hamm-Flores’ previous failures to participate in drug detoxification programs, notably a California Salvation Army program he left without permission and for which there is a warrant out for his arrest. During his probation in this case, Hamm-Flores has made the required phone calls to probation officers, and passed all his drug tests except one, which tested positive for marijuana.
“Drugs are a serious issue for Mr. Hamm-Flores,” Fresquez said.
The case was clouded by allegations that Hamm-Flores was a drug dealer, and the uncertainty surrounding the possibility Golterman took additional drugs – including more methadone – that evening, said defense attorney Dale McPhetres.
“He attempted to revive Daniel,” McPhetres said. “He called the police, he got friends to help. He could have done a better job, he could have done more. But this is not the case of him disregarding another life. Be that as it may, someone has died.”
“I feel horrible,” Hamm-Flores said. “I have to live every day of my life with this. I wish I could take this away, and I can’t. I can’t believe what I’m personally going through, and I can’t imagine what his family is going through.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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