The driver of a deadly rollover crash that took place in Boulder Canyon in early August has been charged with murder after a passenger reported to authorities that the driver purposely crashed the vehicle, killing one female passenger, 21-year-old Alexus Valentin.
Kelley Wiggins, 37, was charged with one count of first-degree murder with extreme indifference, three counts of attempted murder, and one count each of first-degree assault and child abuse.
Wiggins allegedly told one of his passengers that he meant to kill Valentin and had also intended to kill a male passenger in the front seat, Ryan Hohlt of Boulder.
According to an arrest affidavit, Wiggins was driving the vehicle in which Valentin was killed and four others, including Wiggins, were injured. Prosecutors report that one of the injured passengers was a 14-month-old child.
Wiggins remains in custody at the Boulder County jail on $250,000 after the judge declined his attorney’s request to reduce the bond to $50,000. Boulder County Deputy District Attorney Tim Johnson expressed concern for the level of recklessness displayed by Wiggins’ actions. The date of Wiggins’ preliminary hearing is October 13.
Understanding the Charge of First-Degree Murder
Murder in the first degree is a class 1 felony and is known as a capital offense. A conviction carries one of only two possible sentences: 1) life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or 2) the death penalty.
First-degree murder charges in Boulder and throughout Colorado can only come about in response to one of three crimes:
1) intentional murder- where a person deliberately and intently causes the death of another person
2) felony murder– where someone is killed during the course of another crime, such as arson, burglary, kidnapping, robbery, or sexual assault
3) extreme indifference murder– where the defendant did not target any individual in particular, however, given his extreme indifference to life in general, behaves in such a way that creates a grave risk of death to a person, and thereby causes the death of another
In addition to purposely crashing a motor vehicle, examples of extreme indifference murder could include detonating a bomb or discharging a firearm into a crowd. It is typically the easiest of the three types to prove because there is no need to show premeditation on the part of the defendant, simply that his or her reckless actions resulted in the death of another.
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
No matter how serious your charges may be – we can fight for your rights and your freedom. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.