Plea talks active in De Beque slaying

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle said plea negotiations are active but that an offer has yet to be extended to a Rifle man accused of beating another man to death with a sledgehammer handle.

Kenneth Earl Wright, 44, formally waived his right to a preliminary hearing during a brief appearance Wednesday before District Judge Valerie Robison.

Wright is scheduled for arraignment next month.

He is being held on $1 million bond at the Mesa County Jail and is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Steven Burdick of De Beque. Burdick was found beaten to death Aug. 2 in his home.

Wright told sheriff’s investigators he “just snapped” during an argument with Burdick. Wright had been living at the home and was hired by Burdick to do odd jobs at a ranch, according to an arrest affidavit.

Wright admitted hitting Burdick multiple times, “baseball style,” with the wooden handle of a sledgehammer, the affidavit said.


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