Cody Jones, 20, will spend 45 years in prison for his involvement in a home invasion last May in which Jones and two other armed men forced their way into the Golden home of two middle school teachers.
"It's clear this is an unimaginable invasion of safety," said District Court Judge Marge Enquist at the Feb. 23 sentencing hearing in the Jefferson County courthouse. She noted that the crime will have a lifelong effect on the victims and the Golden community.
The home invasion took place at about 9 p.m. on May 16 when Jones, Caleb Williams, 21, and Tyler Gorringe, 18, armed with various weapons - including a baseball bat, a metal curtain rod and knives - forced their way into Jesse and Jessica Swift's home in the 1900 block of Washington Avenue. They were expecting to find $10,000 in cash and drugs, but had gone to the wrong house.
The Swifts were watching television in the living room and their two young children were asleep in the recently remodeled basement.
"Since that moment in May, my life has been impacted," said Jesse Swift, addressing the court. "We loved our home, but now it's a bloody scene from a horror movie."
After a struggle, Jesse Swift was able to grab a knife from the butcher block in the kitchen. He tackled Williams, and the other two suspects fled. After defending herself from the attackers, Jessica Swift ran from the house and called 911 from a neighbor's home.
Both the Swifts sustained injuries from the attack - Jesse's injuries were life-threatening. Golden police arrived in less than three minutes from the time the 911 call was received, and Jesse Swift and Williams were transported to the hospital with stab wounds.
All three men pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and attempted robbery - all felony charges - and crime of violence, which is a sentence enhancer.
Gorringe was 17 at the time of the attack, but his case was transferred from juvenile court to adult district court on July 18. He entered a guilty plea on Dec. 15. Jones and Williams entered guilty pleas on Dec. 19.
Julia Johnson, 19, the driver on the night of the attack, pleaded guilty to accessory to burglary, which is a felony, on Jan. 3.
A sentencing hearing for Williams is slated for March 10, Johnson will be sentenced on March 16 and Gorringe's sentencing hearing will take place April 28.
On Feb. 23, along with statements from the Swift family and their loved ones, the court heard statements from Jones' family.
Jones did not make a statement, but family members told the judge that he had been subjected to child abuse and neglect, and witnessed stealing and drug use by his parents for all of his life. They asked the judge to consider a lenient sentence that would allow Jones to get the help he needs.
Although anyone would feel compassion for the lifetime of abuse Jones has suffered, Enquist said that didn't justify the events of the home invasion.
"His childhood abuse is clearly a mitigator," she said of the sentence she imposed, "but not an excuse."