Man to be tried on murder charges in death of volunteer firefighter
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The man arrested for the October shooting death of a Fryingpan Valley resident will stand trial for first-degree murder, a district court judge ruled Friday.
Andrew Kachik, 28, will face two counts of first-degree murder as well as another for attempted murder in the wake of the shooting death of Basalt volunteer firefighter Vince Thomas. After Friday’s hearing, which featured testimony from Aspen Police detectives and Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene, Judge J.E. DeVilbiss ruled that enough evidence had been gathered to warrant a trial.
Thomas was found dead on Oct. 25 in his residence on Frying Pan Road, about 25 miles north of Basalt in the tiny community of Meredith. Thomas had placed a 911 call to report an intruder in his home. Investigators found that Thomas had suffered three shotgun wounds, including one to the back of his head.
According to court documents, Kathryn D. Rivers, Kachik’s estranged girlfriend, had moved out of his mobile home and into Thomas’ house with her two children on the day of the shooting. Thomas’ friends told police that Rivers was new to the area and was looking for a place to stay, but the two were not romantically involved.
Rivers allegedly told police that Kachik had come to Thomas’ home four times that day and retrieved a shotgun from his car during the fourth visit. When Kachik allegedly returned to his vehicle for the weapon after arguing with Thomas, Rivers said she ran into a bathroom and hid behind a closed door. Kachik allegedly shot Thomas three times, then shot at the bathroom door where Rivers was hiding.
Kachik was arrested at a police roadblock around 8:45 that night, less than 30 minutes after the shooting. Court documents report that Kachik allegedly told arresting officers, “I’m the one you’re looking for.”
Court documents also report that Kachik allegedly told police that he shot Thomas in self-defense.
“He [Thomas] drew his gun first. He said he was going to kill me,” he said.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies looking over Thomas’ home a few hours after the shooting found a black handgun about four feet from Thomas’ body.
Kachik, currently being held at Pitkin County Jail, will be arraigned on April 15.
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