Missing autopsy report postpones manslaughter hearing
BRECKENRIDGE – A missing autopsy report forced the postponement of a manslaughter and drug distribution case in district court Wednesday, and the suspect likely will bond out of Summit County Jail before the case returns to court.
District Court Judge David R. Lass reduced the bond for Ariel Hamm-Flores from $10,000 to $5,000 and required that, should he post it, he undergo supervised probation, including regular checks for drug and alcohol use.
Hamm-Flores, 25, is charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and manslaughter for recklessly causing death. He has been held in the Summit County Jail since his Feb. 3 arrest by county drug task force agents. He is accused of selling methadone to Daniel Golterman, a 24-year-old Keystone food and beverage worker, who was found dead in his Sagebrush employee housing unit Feb. 2.
Summit County Coroner Dave Joslin reported in April that a blood analysis performed on Golterman confirmed the man died of methadone toxicity, or an overdose. The district attorney’s office and Hamm-Flores’ defense counsel, however, were wondering Wednesday where the official report was.
“The content of that report will obviously influence the plea I enter for the defendant,” said attorney Dale McPheeters.
In response to letters from Golterman’s family urging the judge not to reduce the bond for Hamm-Flores, the defense attorney said Golterman had been harassing his client to obtain drugs, had exaggerated injuries to doctors to obtain prescriptions and show that the pathology report could indicate a number of drugs were in Golterman’s system when he died.
Joslin said Wednesday he told the pathologist “to step on it” and get the report completed for authorities. He said the pathologist, Dr. Ben Galloway of Jefferson County, likely had a number of cases going on at the same time and “it also takes a while to get these tests done.” Joslin said it takes three to four months to complete a pathology report.
The manslaughter charge carries penalties of two to six years in prison, three years mandatory parole and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000; Hamm-Flores faces four to 16 years on prison, five years mandatory parole and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000 if convicted on the distribution charge. Hamm-Flores is scheduled to appear for another disposition hearing June 10.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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