Kachik’s state of mind takes center stage | AspenTimes.com

Kachik’s state of mind takes center stage

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The lead investigator in the murder of Vincent Thomas doubts the defendant, Andrew Kachik, saw his girlfriend and the victim in a compromising position on the night of the murder, leading to a vengeful rage.

According to public defenders, Kachik saw his girlfriend and Thomas together in the bathroom of Thomas’ house just after the two had had sex. “Stunned” and “bewildered” is how defense attorneys described Kachik that night. They contend he acted in the “heat of passion” and did not deliberate, a key issue as jurors weigh whether Kachik is guilty of second-degree or first-degree murder.

Kachik is charged with first-degree murder. On Monday, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Investigator Ron Ryan testified he does not believe Kachik ever saw his girlfriend, Kate Rivers, and Thomas in the bathroom together, indicating Kachik was not prompted into his attack on Thomas.

Ryan said when Rivers was interviewed by police, she indicated that Kachik probably did not see her and Thomas in the bathroom that night just before the deadly confrontation began. He said during the course of his investigation, he determined that Kachik did not peer into the bathroom window as defense attorneys have suggested.

Monday’s testimony got off to a late start as 9th District Court Judge J.E. DeVilbiss slipped and fell at his home, sustaining an injury that left him unable to oversee the proceedings. Chief Judge Thomas Ossola presided over the court beginning in the afternoon and will also oversee the courtroom today.

It is unknown when DeVilbiss will be back in the courtroom, although attorneys have assured Ossola that the jury should have the case to deliberate by tomorrow.

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Defense attorneys did not have a chance to question Ryan about his perspective on the topic since his testimony was presented during the district attorney’s redirect motion. Ossola had the attorneys stick to a direct examination, cross-examination and redirect process, without an additional cross-examination.

Ryan also testified that a test drive between Thomas’ house and Kachik’s house, approximately two miles apart, took just over eight minutes driving 10 to 15 mph above the speed limit. Kachik drove to his house and back to get his shotgun and ammunition just before killing Thomas.

But public defender Jamie Roth objected to a videotape of Ryan’s test drive, saying it could not accurately portray the night of the drive or the state of mind Kachik was in when when he made the drive. The videotape was not shown in court.

Agents from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation also testified for the prosecution on Monday. CBI’s Janel Smith testified as an expert in DNA analysis, noting that blood stains on Kachik’s clothing matched Thomas’ DNA.

Wayne Bryan from CBI testified as an expert in firearms examination, demonstrating use of the murder weapon: a pump-action shotgun. Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Kremer testified about searching Kachik’s residence after the murder. He said he found a case that held the defendant’s shotgun and a box of ammunition.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]