Charges differ in pair of fatal stabbings

Two similar stabbing cases that eventually ended in the death of the victims are being handled quite differently by the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

In one instance, the accused knife-wielder is being charged with murder. In the second, the two suspected attackers are being charged with first-degree assault.

In both cases, the victims did not die from their injuries. The DA’s decisions on charges were based on autopsy reports.

Douglas Bennett, 32, died Feb. 3. He had been stabbed in the chest after leaving DJ’s Roadhouse, 3112 Interstate 70 Business Loop.

He was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, treated and released. But a day after his release, Bennett suffered an allergic reaction to medication prescribed to him and died.

Mack Sadler, 58, is awaiting trial on suspicion of murder.

The second case involves 21-year-old Christopher Langford, who died March 21.

Langford was attacked by two teenagers Jan. 18. He was hit in the head with a baseball bat and stabbed twice in the back and once in the chest and in the head.

He was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, treated and released. Two-and-a-half months later, Langford was dead, the result of overdosing on pain medication, according to a coroner’s report.

His alleged attackers, Jason Ryan Ingram and Jesus Ernest Barrera, both 18, await trial for first-degree assault, not murder, and Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says he doesn’t anticipate filing additional charges.

Mesa County Coroner’s Office forensic pathologist Rob Kurtzman said Langford abused his prescription and was able to refill it many more times than intended. Because

Kurtzman could not rule out the possibility that Langford committed suicide, as opposed to simply overdosing, the cause of death remains “undetermined.”

Bennett’s death, on the other hand, was determined to be caused by stab wounds, even though he died from an allergic reaction, said Jeremy Savage, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case.

“The cause of death on this was a stabbing because he was taking the medications as he was supposed to be,” Savage said. “(Bennett) would not even have been on the medications if he had not been stabbed.”

Kurtzman also performed Bennett’s autopsy and concurred with Savage’s assessment.

“He (Bennett) was released from the hospital with medications usual and customary for treatment of that type of problem, and unexpectedly he passed away as a consequence of some of the drugs that were utilized,” he said. “It was not a predictable response.”

Bennett showed no ill reactions to the medications while at the hospital, and it was determined he took all medications as prescribed, Kurtzman said.

“So the circumstances that resulted in Mr. Bennett’s death were the direct consequence of the events set in place by sustaining a stab wound,” Kurtzman said.


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