9-YEAR-OLD’S KIDNAPPER FACES AT LEAST 64 YEARS

A Grand Junction man who kidnapped a 9-year-old girl by placing her in the trunk of his vehicle and driving away is facing a minimum of 64 years in prison after entering guilty pleas Monday in court.

Michael Byerrum, 41, pleaded guilty to five felony charges of sexual assault, second-degree kidnapping and three habitual criminal charges.

Byerrum was out on bond May 31 from another case when he grabbed a girl from an Orchard Mesa apartment complex where she lived, placed her in the trunk and drove to a wooded area.

After Byerrum stopped the vehicle, he removed the girl from the trunk and told her not to look at him or he would kill her, according to Byerrum’s arrest affidavit.

The girl bit Byerrum on the nose and ran away, where she was found later by police, the affidavit said.

Byerrum had three prior felony convictions including kidnapping, second-degree burglary and escape.

He faces a sentence of at least 64 years in prison. His mandatory 16-year sentence is increased by four times because of the habitual criminal counts.

Byerrum is set for sentencing Feb. 25.

Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tammy Eret said she is including some additional evidence in the case into the file for Mesa County District Court Judge Richard Gurley to review in deciding a sentence.


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