|12/23/2022 3:33:00 PM|
Colorado man bound over for trial in grandmother's death
By Levi Zimmerman
A Colorado man was bound over for trial Tuesday after a preliminary hearing determined there was probable cause to believe a felony has been committed.
Phillip Schmidt-Way, 28, of Loveland, Colorado, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime in November in connection with the death of his grandmother last year.
According to the Department of Justice, the victim was found dead in her Dodgeville home in July 2021.
Autopsy attributed her death to carbon monoxide poisoning.
A criminal complaint reported that one of the accused men, Aric Way, 51, of Glendale, WI, was set to inherit the family farm the victim had recently agreed to sell.
It also states that there were no obvious sources to explain the high levels of carbon monoxide in the home.
Schmidt-Way was in court Tuesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing of the evidence.
The Attorney General's Office led the prosecution, as Assistant Attorney General Edward Minser and Assitant Attorney General Nathanial Adamson represented the state in the matter.
Attorney Ian Mickelson represented the defense.
The state called one witness, Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Alexander Agnew.
Agnew testified a gentleman found the victim deceased, lying on her bed at her home located at 4883 Hunter Hollow Road about 10:00 a.m. July 19, 2021.
Agnew said carbon monoxide detectors brought in by EMTs had positive alerts, although crews were unable to identify any source of carbon monoxide.
He testified carbon monoxide levels were highest in the bedroom.
Agnew said a trail camera captured still images of a pickup truck with its headlights off entering the property at approximately 2:57 a.m. and leaving at approximately 5:24 a.m.
In addition to carbon monoxide poisoning, it was stated the victim had injuries to her face, upper chest and small puncture wounds on her wrists.
Agnew testified Aric Way texted his son, Schmidt-Way, during an interview with police, telling him to "stay away" from the area.
The truck captured by the tail camera was eventually located by an Iowa County Deputy and was pulled over at Blain's Farm and Fleet.
It was Schmidt-Way was the occupant and owner of the vehicle.
Agnew said a respirator was found in the truck as well as a carbon monoxide detector.
Powdery substances were also found, including sodium sulphate and sodium bicarbomate, commonly known as baking soda.
Under cross-examination by Mickelson, Agnew admitted he wasn't able to tell how many occupants were in the pickup truck shown in the still images.
Agnew also agreed Schmidt-Way never replied to text messages sent from his father during police questioning.
Mickelson questioned Agnew about the victim's health at the time of her death.
"She did have health problems, but I don't think we can speculate on anyone's longevity," Agnew stated.
Once Agnew was excused, the state moved for a bind over.
The defense moved the charge be dismissed due to a lack of probable cause.
"I don't believe there's probable cause here. I don't think there's any evidence to say Phillip Schmidt-Way aided or abetted his father," Mickelson said. "He (Aric Way) was the one who wanted the property and moved for guardianship. We ask to dismiss."
Judge Robert VanDeHey disagreed, "In this case, the truck does provide a link to your client. The testimony focused on his father did but your client is charged as a party to a crime. It makes it probable that your client was involved."
Judge VanDeHey found probable cause and bound Schmdit-Way over for trial.
Arraignment was set for January 3, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. for both defendants.
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