Alleged Independence Pass hostage-taker issues insanity plea | AspenTimes.com

Alleged Independence Pass hostage-taker issues insanity plea

Staff report

A Colorado Springs man who allegedly took three men hostage at gunpoint on Independence Pass in July 2016 was allowed Monday to change his plea in the case to not guilty by reason of insanity.

District Judge Chris Seldin characterized the defense's reason for changing the plea as "neglect," though Brolin McConnell's attorney said it was "inadvertence" during a hearing Monday.

The defense needed to gather information from McConnell's family, doctors and elsewhere before they could craft a proper plea, said Ryan Cox, McConnell's lawyer.

Whatever the reason, Judge Seldin granted the request changing the plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

McConnell, who has been incarcerated at the Pitkin County Jail since the incident, will now have to be transported to the state psychiatric hospital in Pueblo for a sanity evaluation. That procedure and the report that follows likely will take months, prosecutor Ben Sollars said.

The prosecution also likely will want to have McConnell examined by a psychiatrist of their choice, he said.

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The case already was delayed months after the prosecution appealed a decision by Seldin reducing the charges against McConnell. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed that decision.

McConnell, 31, faces 25 counts, including attempted first degree murder, in the case.