Jury deadlocked on murder charges against deputy who killed Christian Glass

Christian glass. (Family photo provided by law firm Rathod Mohamedbhai)

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the murder charge against the former Clear Creek County sheriff's deputy who fatally shot Christian Glass nearly two years ago, but on Friday convicted the deputy of reckless endangerment.

Andrew Buen, 30, was charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct and reckless endangerment for the June 10, 2022, killing of Glass after the 22-year-old called 911 for help when his car became stuck on a rock. Glass, who had marijuana and amphetamines in his system, said he was afraid of “skinwalkers” and people chasing him.

Jurors deadlocked on the murder and official misconduct charges Friday but convicted Buen of reckless endangerment, a charge typically punishable by no more than 120 days in jail. Buen would have faced years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

Jurors deliberated for about two and a half days before informing District Court Judge Catherine Cheroutes around 4:30 pm on Friday that they could not reach a verdict on the two most serious charges in the case.

On the night of the incident, seven law enforcement officers responded and tried to coax Glass out of the car for more than an hour while he suffered from delusions and paranoia. Ultimately, Buen decided to break Glass' window and pull him out of the car.

Prosecutors argued during the eight-day jury trial that officers had no legal reason to force Glass, who they said was experiencing a mental health crisis, out of the car. Buen's lawyers said police needed him out of the vehicle to investigate him for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When officers broke the window, Glass grabbed a knife and officers fired a Taser at him and shot him with bean bags in an attempt to force him to drop it. Instead, Glass turned in the driver's seat and thrust the knife at an officer standing next to the shattered window behind him, prompting Buen to shoot Glass five times. Glass then stabbed himself multiple times.

Fifth District Attorney Heidi McCollum said Buen's actions that evening escalated the situation and were objectively unreasonable.

“What would have been wrong with waiting two or three hours?” she said during closing statements on Wednesday. “…You can leave him there for hours, and if that calms him down, if that doesn't lead to someone's death, don't you think a few hours is worth it?”

Buen's attorney, Carrie Slinkard, accused prosecutors of skewing evidence in the case to create the appearance of a crime when no crime had actually been committed, and argued that Buen had to shoot Glass to kill then-Georgetown Police Marshal Randy Williams, who was closest to the police. knife as Glass turned around in his seat.

“Every other person on the scene said it was justified,” Slinkard told the jury. “Justified because Christian Glass was a threat, he had a deadly weapon in his hand and he – among all these other officers, from all different angles – said without a doubt that the chief was in danger.”

Simon and Sally Glass, parents of Christian Glass, arrive at the Clear Creek County Courthouse in Georgetown, Colorado on April 15, 2024.  They attended the trial of former Clear Creek County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Buen, who was charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct in the death of 22-year-old Christian Glass after Glass called 911 in 2022.  (Photo by RJ Sangosti/JS)
Simon and Sally Glass, parents of Christian Glass, arrive at the Clear Creek County Courthouse in Georgetown, Colorado on April 15, 2024. They attended the trial of former Clear Creek County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Buen, who was charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct in the death of 22-year-old Christian Glass after Glass called 911 in 2022. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/JS)

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