No Criminal Charges in Bath Salts Homicide
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- The Mesa County District Attorney's office has announced that no criminal charges will be filed in a homicide case involving bath salts, or cathinone analogues.
Daniel Richards passed away on April 10 from what the coroner determined was strangulation.
During a press conference on Tuesday, DA Hautzinger opened up about what happened that night after Richards consumed a large amount of bath salts and went to a party. "Daniel was being very aggressive, was throwing punches and tried to hit the homeowner. One of his best friends took him down and was physically trying to restrain him. At one point, Daniel had in fact pulled a knife that was clearly a very dangerous, deadly weapon ... After being held for some period of time, a matter of minutes probably, he appeared to have calmed down. The weapon had been taken away from him. The friend released Daniel and thought everything was OK, when another explosion of violence and aggressive behavior. [Richards] jumped up and tried to start fighting again. His friend again took him down, again with his arm around his neck," explained Hautzinger.
It was after that last hold that Richards' friends became concerned and took him to the hospital, where he fell into a coma and later died.
In response to the question of why manslaughter was ruled out, Hautzinger explained, "If I had a situation where someone was putting a choke hold on someone else who wasn't being violent or tweaked out on drugs ... or out of his gourd, as it were, then yes, we'd certainly be looking at manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide."
The coroner confirmed Richards had alcohol and traces of marijuana in his system at the time of his death.
Hautzinger said Richards' mother is not happy with the decision. Both he and the GJPD expressed their deepest condolences and called this an avoidable tragedy.
This case has prompted authorities to issue a warning to retailers that selling bath salts is a felony and will be strictly enforced in the Grand Valley.