Mothers looking for answers in Glenwood Springs assaults |

Mothers looking for answers in Glenwood Springs assaults

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Robert Davis sits at his camp near Glenwood Springs in April. He's currently in a Denver hospital after being severely beaten. (Kelley Cox Post Independent)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” JoAnn Cannon sits in the hospital every day wondering how her son will recover after being severely beaten with a bat at a hillside camp near Glenwood Springs.

“We were grateful that Scott’s alive but we didn’t know if Scott was going to make it, either,” Cannon said via telephone. “I never dreamed something like this would happen.”

Cannon, of Oxford, Mich., and her 18-year-old daughter are praying and watching over Scott Cannon, 32. He’s one of the victims who was assaulted on the night of May 31.

William Isaiah Masoner is currently being held on attempted murder charges.

Kathleen Brown, of Buffalo, N.Y., also flew out to check on her son, Robert Davis. She had to fly back home this week. Brown said both men have permanent brain damage. A local doctor initially told police the two men “could very well die.”

“They told me that I wouldn’t recognize him,” Brown said. “He’ll have to have a nurse or some sort of supervision with him at all times for the rest of his life.”

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Glenwood Springs Police Department went to the hillside transient camps behind Wal-Mart after a report of a fight there on May 31.

A female witness told police that Masoner “freaked out” and attacked Cannon, Davis and a third man from behind with a log or stick at one of the camps. She said she ran off when he came at her. The woman told police the men were lying in heaps and blood was everywhere, according to an arrest affidavit.

Masoner, 38, was arrested on suspicion of three counts attempted second-degree murder, three counts of second-degree assault and a count of menacing. He’s being held on $100,000 bond.

Police said Masoner tried to get out of his handcuffs and kicked an officer. The three injured men were transported to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood, where one was treated and released. Davis and Cannon were both flown to the Denver Health Medical Center.

Prosecutors were granted more time two weeks ago to decide about filing formal charges and Masoner’s next court date is Wednesday. Deputy District Attorney Jim Leuthauser, who generally handles filing charges, didn’t return a phone message Thursday.

Masoner and two others claim Masoner acted in self-defense. They say the three men tried to set the tent on fire and then attacked him with knives because they wanted him off the mountain. Police found one fixed-blade knife at the camp, and Masoner’s only injury was one cut on his nostril.

Brown and JoAnn Cannon don’t buy the self-defense claims given the severity and orientations of the men’s injuries. Cannon said Scott was struck in the back of the head and on the sides. She said his eye socket and skull were crushed, and he has a titanium plate under his eye and another in the back of his head. He at first was on a ventilator to breath and had a bolt in his head to drain fluids and measure the pressure on his swollen brain.

“Even if you’re a jerk, I don’t think you deserve to be beat half to death,” Cannon said.

The men are doing better now, however, and they can both talk and recognize their mothers. But Brown said her son doesn’t always make sense when he speaks. She had to tell him every 20 minutes that she wasn’t there to take him home and he’d have to stay.

“He mostly just stares ” like a blank stare,” Brown said.

Both said their sons will be transferred elsewhere after three to six weeks of rehab, but they’ll then need 24-hour care. The prognosis after that is unclear.

“Nobody deserves what these boys got,” Brown said. “It looks like they were blind-sided.”

Cannon said it was tough for her daughter to turn 18 and graduate from high school while her brother almost died and is in the hospital.

The tragedy is difficult for Brown, too. She’s already lost Robert’s younger brother to a car accident when he was 26. Brown doesn’t speculate, though, about why life happens the way it does.

“Things happen that we don’t understand and sometimes you’re looking for answers but there aren’t any,” Brown said. “What I have to do is make decisions for my son according to what the doctors tell me because he can’t make decisions on his own.”

Both mothers said neither man can remember details about the incident at the camp.

Cannon said she was frustrated to be told by detectives and the District Attorney’s Office she couldn’t get police reports about the crime due to an ongoing investigation. She was also upset when she was told that prosecutors were still looking into filing charges.

Both Davis and Scott Cannon worked in carpentry and camped on the hillsides in the summer to save money and because they enjoyed it.

JoAnn Cannon said her son, who loved Glenwood Springs and the outdoors, once told her nothing bad would happen to him camping because people in Glenwood Springs are nice.

One camper has said there’s about six camps with around a dozen people in the hills immediately east and south of Glenwood Springs. Glenwood Springs police said the camps are outside the city limits on federal or private lands.

The mothers believe Masoner deserves punishment for the crime and they hope the case can be prosecuted. Brown said 20 years in prison or more seems appropriate.

“I think that’s exactly what he tried to do is kill them, and whatever the max is I think he should get it because Scott probably will have some problems the rest of his life,” Cannon said.