Summit County Judge denies motion for cardiologist testimony in Sattler trial
Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo denied a motion by the defense to bring in a cardiologist as a witness during a retrial for Charles Sattler, a former amateur boxer accused of killing Summit County chef Blake Bostic. Sattler is now charged with first-degree assault and manslaughter after the prosecution dropped a second-degree murder charge.
The defense had previously tried to admit cardiologist Brian Stauffer during the trial in June, arguing that Bostic’s pre-existing heart condition could have been a factor in his death. Romeo denied the motion under the terms of the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, often applied to tort law, which states that a defendant must take a victim as he finds him. Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle provided Colorado Supreme Court case Hamrick v. People as an example of the rule in criminal law.
Public defender Reed Owens asked the court to reconsider the motion since the second-degree murder charge was dropped.
“We’re not dealing with ‘knowingly’ anymore,” Owens said. “This is a completely different mental state or level of understanding by Mr. Sattler.”
Prindle argued there had been no significant change since the previous ruling.
“You take your victim as you find them,” he said. “(The motion) almost gives the defendant an excuse for doing what they did. I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
He added that Sattler likely would not have known that Bostic had a pre-existing heart condition after just having met at a bar.
“I think the whole theory the defense is arguing is a red herring,” Prindle said. “If you cause a person death or serious bodily injury, you’re still responsible for them.”
After a long period of consideration, Romeo denied the motion by the defense on the same terms as the previous trial. In addition, she added that the testimony of Dr. Ben Galloway, a forensic pathologist, clearly stated that the primary cause of Bostic’s death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
“I just fail to see the relevance of the heart issue,” Romeo said. “I fail to see, even in light of manslaughter, that (Bostic) would have greater risk of cardiac arrest.”
In addition, she said she would not accept any mentioning of the heart condition by the defense during opening statements or Galloway’s testimony, a change from the previous trial.
Sattler’s retrial will be held at the Eagle County District Court, starting on Sept. 23, 2015.
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