GJ man’s death after brawl ruled a homicide
A Grand Junction Police Department detective said a man’s severe brain injuries were suspicious after a fight outside a Grand Junction home around midnight last Friday, according to a search warrant affidavit.
James N. Rossett, 31, died as a result of blunt-force head trauma in what has been ruled a homicide, the Mesa County Coroner’s office said Thursday.
No arrests have been made, and police spokeswoman Kate Porras said detectives as of Thursday still were trying to determine whether a crime was committed.
Early statements to investigators suggest the fight was an escalation of troubles between two men involved in an intimate relationship with one another, according to the search warrant affidavit.
As of the predawn hours of April 15, with Rossett still clinging to life, a detective wrote in the affidavit that there was probable cause the crime of second-degree assault had been committed.
Rossett was unconscious, not breathing and lying face-up near the front door of 711 1/2 Spanish Trail Road when authorities arrived at the home in response to a 911 cardiac-arrest call, the affidavit said.
The first officer at the scene saw a man performing CPR on Rossett.
A third man at the home, Brody Stevenson, told officers that he and Rossett had argued earlier in the evening over a text message Rossett had received from another man, according to the affidavit. Stevenson said he and Rossett had been in an intimate relationship and living together at the home seven months.
After the argument, Stevenson said he left and met another man at a local bar.
Stevenson said when he came home, Rossett came out of the house and got into the passenger’s seat of Stevenson’s Jeep Cherokee.
Stevenson said the earlier dispute turned physical.
“After they punched each other, the fight was over,” a detective wrote in the search warrant affidavit. “James gets out of the vehicle and walks around the corner toward the front door of the house.”
Stevenson said he next saw Rossett lying on the ground near the front door, his eyes “glazed over, and his head was rolling around with no resistance.”
Stevenson told officers his first phone call was to the man he had gone to the bar with earlier.
Stevenson believed James was “faking it,” the affidavit said. Stevenson said he called the man a second time, telling him Rossett wasn’t breathing and to “get over there.”
According to Stevenson’s account, the man arrived at the home and started CPR on Rossett. Stevenson said the man told him to call 911, which he did.
The man who arrived at the scene had been involved in a past intimate relationship with Stevenson, the affidavit said.
Detectives were later told that Stevenson had asked Rossett to move out of the home earlier that day. Stevenson also said they consumed two pints of vodka between the two of them.
Within three hours of the 911 call, a doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital told an officer that Rossett had possible severe brain damage because of oxygen deprivation, and his prospects for survival were “zero.”
Rossett’s Facebook page says he was a 1998 graduate of Olathe High School.
“Well, I don’t think this little box is enough for my bio,” the page says in a section labeled “about James.”