Alleged Independence Pass hostage-taker to enter insanity plea
The Colorado Springs man charged with taking three men hostage at gunpoint on Independence Pass in July 2016 plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court documents.
Brolin McConnell, 31, only pleaded not guilty to the numerous serious felonies filed against him last month after a monthslong delay in his case caused by an appeal of a Pitkin County District Court judge’s charging decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
On Nov. 10, McConnell’s Denver-based attorney filed a motion notifying both the District Court and the District Attorney’s Office “that he is raising the defense of insanity, and intends to change his plea to ‘not guilty by reason of insanity,’” according to the motion.
Prosecutor Sarah Oszczakiewicz had not yet filed a response to the motion and declined Thursday to comment on the development.
McConnell, a real estate broker, allegedly took two men hostage on Lincoln Creek Road the evening of July 27, 2016, and repeatedly threatened to kill them with the two handguns he brandished. He allegedly took a third man hostage and fired a bullet at his feet and another next to his head.
All three men were able to eventually run away from McConnell and he was captured without further incident.
McConnell, who is currently being held at the Pitkin County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, two counts of attempted first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and 10 counts of felony menacing.
Lawyers involved in the case scheduled it last month for a jury trial starting March 2.
McConnell, who has not been out of jail since the hostage incident nearly a year and a half ago, also has run afoul of the rules while in jail. He was sanctioned in the spring for admitting to having sex with a female inmate in his cell, then was charged in late October with possession of contraband in jail after being caught sending nearly 1,400 text messages to his family using a smuggled cellphone.
Finalists announced for Aspen’s next police chief
Five high-ranking, law-enforcement officers, all in Colorado and two in Aspen, have made the final cut in the city’s search for a new police chief.