DA says man accused in Rifle gun case is ‘career felon’
June 1, 2012
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The man accused of bursting into an assisted-living center in Rifle on May 17 and brandishing a pistol at residents and staff is a “career felon” with a long list of charges and convictions, according to the district attorney.
Gregory Blurton, 54, of Rifle, is in custody at the Garfield County Jail on a bond of $250,000 and is facing multiple counts that include burglary, menacing and weapons-related charges.
His criminal record, according to District Attorney Martin Beeson, includes charges and convictions related to assault, bank robbery, car theft and illegal possession of weapons.
Blurton was formally charged Wednesday with 38 crimes in connection with the incident at Crossroads Assisted Living in Rifle.
During the incident, which began at around 2:30 p.m., Blurton allegedly barricaded himself into a resident’s room and held Rifle police officers at bay with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.
Police reported that Blurton opened the door to the room more than once and held the pistol to his own head before closing the door.
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Of the 38 charges, 15 are felonies, 19 are misdemeanors, and four are “sentence enhancers,” alleging that Blurton is a habitual criminal.
Seventeen of the misdemeanor charges are related to “neglect of an at-risk victim,” referring to the effects his alleged actions had on the 17 residents living at Crossroads, while two of the misdemeanor charges are related to damage to the facility and carrying a concealed weapon.
Although court documents give no indication as to why Blurton ended up at the Crossroads facility that day, Beeson alleged in one document that Blurton walked in and said he needed water to cleanse blood from his back. He later yelled at police, through the door of the room he was in, that he had been shot and cut, according to the district attorney.
When Blurton emerged from the room, he was holding a pistol, police said, but he dropped it about the same time he was hit by a Taser fired by police, according to court documents.
It later turned out that the gun was empty, although one live cartridge was found in a hallway at Crossroads, and a full clip for the pistol was found in the middle of 24th Street.
In a motion to have Blurton’s bond increased, Beeson argued that Blurton is a “career felon” with multiple convictions on his record in South Carolina, Michigan, California, Utah and the state of Washington.
The convictions, according to Beeson, were for crimes ranging from illegal use of a sawed-off shotgun to bank robbery, assault and car theft. The convictions, according to Beeson’s research, covered a period of more than 20 years, from 1977 to 1997.
Sentence enhancers typically are used to add years to a defendant’s prison sentence upon conviction.
If convicted on all charges, Blurton faces a possible sentence of 70 years in prison or more, according to Colorado sentencing guidelines.
Blurton is due in court again on June 14.