First Judicial District says Hot Sulphur Springs shooters acted in ‘self-defense’ |

First Judicial District says Hot Sulphur Springs shooters acted in ‘self-defense’

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — The 1st. Judicial District Attorney Peter Weir determined the fatal shooting of Joshua Stevens, 32, on April 1, in Hot Sulphur Springs was self-defense.

“The District Attorney’s final conclusion is that the legal requirements of the affirmative defense of self-defense were satisfied by (the Steins), and that their conduct did not violate any criminal statutes,” states a press release from the 1st Judicial District, dated Thursday, June 6.

The district’s legal analysis of the investigation into the shooting determined the actions of Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. John Stein and Chief Deputy District Attorney Heather Stein of the 14th Judicial District were not criminal, according to the release.

“Following review of this investigation, District Attorney Weir finds that it was not unreasonable for (the Steins) to fear imminent death or serious bodily injury to themselves and their children, and to respond to Stevens in the manner that they did,” the release states. John and Heather Stein are married and live in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Stevens sustained four gunshot wounds, according to the autopsy report. Thursday’s press release states Stevens’ toxicology results were positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine, oxycodone/oxymorphone and canniboid.

District Attorney Weir’s analysis and conclusion are detailed in a letter that is being provided to 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey today, June 7.

On the night of the shooting, Barkey, the district attorney of the Fourteenth Judicial District, which includes Hot Sulphur Springs, contacted Weir and requested assistance because the shooting involved a Grand County Sheriff’s lieutenant and a chief deputy district attorney from his office.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was asked to conduct the investigation.

From its review of the investigation, the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office concluded that on the night of the shooting, John and Heather Stein were home with three of their four children. The family was asleep when shortly before midnight Lt. Stein awoke to a loud banging at the front door, which sounded as if someone was trying to kick in the door. He picked up his gun and went to the door. When he opened the door, Stevens pushed his way into the home. He was yelling and behaving erratically. The Steins’ daughter was asleep on the couch. Heather Stein also awoke to the disturbance. She also retrieved her gun and was able to move the child out of the room. As Lt. Stein attempted to persuade Stevens to leave the home, there was an altercation in the living room that caused minor injuries both to Lt. Stein and Stevens, the release states.

The press release continues to say that “Stein was eventually able to forcibly remove Stevens from his home. Lt. Stein watched Stevens go across the street, towards a parked truck. The woman who owned the truck had gotten out of the truck and was walking away from it. She saw Stevens coming towards her.

“Lt. Stein again contacted Stevens in an attempt to subdue him. Another struggle ensued and led to a fight on the sidewalk in front of the Steins’ home. During this fight, Stevens attempted to take control of Lt. Stein’s gun.” The press release continues, “Lt. Stein repeatedly ordered Stevens to let go of the gun. (Heather) Stein watched the fight on the sidewalk. At one point she grabbed Stevens around the neck and tried to pull him of off her husband. Stevens continued to fight for control of the gun and ignored orders to let go of the gun. Lt. Stein was determined not to allow Stevens to secure his handgun and he fired three shots. Upon hearing the shots fired, Heather Stein believed Lt. Stein had been hit and was concerned for the safety of her children and herself. She then fired her weapon.”

Autopsy analysis determined “the shot fired by Heather Stein would not have been fatal,” statements say.

The press release does not give clues, other than suspected drug use, as to why Stevens was at the Steins’ home and allegedly forcing his way inside.

Grand County Assistant District Attorney Han Ng, stated that the Steins will be taken off of administrative leave and will return to their respective previously held positions within the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office.

Because Weir found the legal requirements of the affirmative defense of self-defense were satisfied by the Stein’s actions, no charges will be filled against them and the investigation is closed.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User