Man who slit his brother’s throat thought he was sparing him torture

Trent Ingram

Eight months ago, Trent Ingram was convinced he was on a world-wide game show and that viewers were cheering him on to kill his 17-year-old brother — not to hurt him, but to spare him from being brutally tortured.

That’s how the 21-year-old Clifton man would later describe to a public defender his mental state on Jan. 20, the day he walked up behind his brother and slit the teen’s throat with a knife.

Ingram on Monday morning asked Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison to sentence him to probation for his guilty plea to a felony count of menacing and misdemeanor counts of drug possession and assault.

Robison agreed to that while also imposing a short stint in community corrections.

“What I did was very out of character,” said Ingram, who was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. “I feel horrible.”

The teen got about 50 stitches, although a physician’s assistant who examined him said the cut was superficial.

Ingram on Monday briefly referenced his substance abuse issues, saying he aspires in the coming years to obtain an education and either start a business or become a drug abuse counselor.

While Ingram himself made no mention at the hearing of mental illness, Public Defender Brian Johnson said he believes his client suffers from trauma-related schizophrenia. Ingram was 13 when his father, Brent Ingram, was shot to death by police in a North Avenue motel in what Johnson called “suicide by cop.”

Trent Ingram witnessed the immediate aftermath of his father’s death, which Johnson described as a catalyst to the family’s turmoil. Ingram ended up in foster care — always with his younger brother, “literally the person in his life that he is closest to,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who asked Robison to impose probation in the case, said Ingram told him after his arrest about his delusions that his little brother was about to be subjected to brutal torture.

Ingram’s brother echoed the request, describing his elder sibling as an “intellectual, compassionate human being who has a good heart.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney David Waite asked for a community correction sentence, noting that the plea was negotiated in large part because “we believe this to be a mental health case much more than a violence case” and that community corrections would give more structure and support to getting Ingram on the right path. He said he is also concerned Ingram might be somewhat in denial about his substance abuse issues.

Robison ordered Ingram to spend 90 days in community corrections, as well as two separate two-year probation sentences. She ordered Ingram to be assessed for both mental health and substance abuse issues, and to attend at least two GED certificate informational meetings. She also ordered Ingram to complete 50 hours of useful public service.

“You’ve got a lot of people behind you. This was a horrible event,” she told Ingram. “I hope I don’t see you back in that chair.”

“You won’t,” Ingram responded.


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