Colo. man gets life for killing ex-girlfriend with leather leash looped around her neck
05/17/2023 11:57 am PDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (TCD) -- A jury found a 59-year-old man with a history of domestic violence guilty last week on charges related to the 2022 death of his 55-year-old ex-girlfriend.
On the night of Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies performed a welfare check at a home on the 27000 block of South Timber Trail in Conifer after concerned neighbors hadn’t seen Michele Scott in several days. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Scott had arranged to watch the Super Bowl with another neighbor, but she didn’t show up.
Upon arrival, deputies noticed the home was "locked and dark with no one home."
The next day, neighbors reportedly spoke with Scott’s family members, who gave them permission to enter the home. Inside, neighbors found dogs "who had not been cared for."
Deputies returned to the home at around 8 a.m. and discovered "smeared blood on a truck parked in the driveway, in the garage, as well as other places in the home," the District Attorney’s Office said. Officials also recovered Scott’s cellphone.
The District Attorney’s Office said authorities made contact with the primary suspect, Wayne Lotz, while he was driving the victim’s Toyota Highlander. During an interview, Lotz reportedly told police Scott was "on vacation and that he had permission to use her vehicle and credit card while he cared for her dogs and horses."
Police arrested Scott, and he was booked into the Jefferson County Jail on charges of domestic violence related felony menacing, aggravated motor vehicle theft, and criminal possession of a financial transaction device.
Inside the hatch door of Scott’s vehicle, deputies reportedly found blood evidence.
The search for Scott continued, and according to the District Attorney’s Office, deputies found a "rug and moving blanket" near Pleasant Park and South Ridge roads on Feb. 15, 2022. During a search of Lotz’s cellphone records, officials reportedly found he was in that same area on Feb. 11, 2022.
Investigators searched the area but didn’t find a body, the District Attorney’s Office said.
About half a mile north of the rug and blanket, officials reportedly found Scott’s body under a pile of stacked rocks with a "brown leather leash looped around her neck." The District Attorney’s Office said, "Her wrists were bound with braided rope, her arms had been bound by horse lead, and her legs were bound with a dog leash and bungee cord."
An autopsy report determined Scott died of strangulation and blunt force injuries.
Investigators reportedly found Lotz’s DNA on the leash around Scott’s neck.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Lotz was then charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, menacing, aggravated motor vehicle theft, tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a financial device, and two crime of violence counts.
On Friday, May 12, the District Attorney’s Office said a jury found Lotz guilty of all charges except menacing. He was sentenced to life in prison with an additional 16 1/2 years.
The District Attorney’s Office said, "Scott was remembered as a dedicated mother, sister, and friend and someone who had a profound impact on the lives of those around her."
Prior to her death, starting in 2020, Scott had reported multiple domestic violence incidents and protection order violations against Lotz, the District Attorney’s Office said. Lotz pleaded guilty to attempted violation of a civil protection order on Feb. 1, 2022.
In a statement, one of Scott’s friends said, "Domestic violence is a horrible thing, and many people are afraid to speak out."
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