Calif. murderer faces charges in bridge killing
A California convicted killer was advised Friday by a Mesa County judge of the possibility of life in prison or death if convicted in the 2010 slaying of a homeless man along the Colorado River in lower downtown Grand Junction.
Joseph Conn, 25, was ordered Friday held at the Mesa County Jail on $500,000 bond, despite the fact he’s unable to post any type of bond because of a life prison sentence he’s serving for the 2011 murder of a man in California.
Conn was transported to Mesa County on Thursday.
Conn, who is expected back in court Dec. 12, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 36-year-old Willard Michael “Mike” Bobbitt, a homeless man whose body was found under the Fifth Street bridge Aug. 1, 2010. Earlier that same day, several people camping near the river found a bloody sleeping bag snagged on the riverbank about a quarter-mile from where the body was eventually discovered.
Details of the case — authorities in 2010 refused to even confirm a cause of death — have yet to be made public as Conn’s warrant remains sealed.
Conn was charged more than a year after Bobbitt’s death, while he was being held at the Sacramento County Jail in California on suspicion of murder.
Sacramento police arrested Conn and two others on Jan. 5, 2011, in connection with a suspected botched robbery attempt that ended in the beating death of a man and the severe beating of his roommate on New Year’s Day 2011. Conn was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, attempted murder and attempted robbery, and later convicted at trial.
Several members of Bobbitt’s family sat in on Friday’s hearing.
Bobbitt’s last known address was in Montrose, while an obituary published by The Daily Sentinel in August 2010 said he was survived by a son and daughter, ages 12 and 9, when their father died. A 1992 Montrose High School graduate, Bobbitt worked as a cowboy and ranch hand around Montrose about the time of his death, the obituary said.
Sandy Ray of Delta, whose son, John, was a close friend of Bobbitt, also sat in on Friday’s hearing. “Until it’s all over and we have closure, you don’t really know how you’re going to feel,” Ray said Friday.