Suspect pleads guilty to killing man in RV fire
One of two men accused of killing a man on Orchard Mesa by allegedly burning him alive inside a recreational vehicle will serve no more than 30 years in prison.
Lucos Schultz, 23, pleaded guilty Monday morning to a single count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with a June 12, 2012, fire involving an RV parked near 830 Unaweep Ave. The body of Bill Smith, 51, was recovered from the burned wreckage.
Schultz’s plea agreement with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office allows for a prison sentence of 16 and 30 years.
He’s scheduled for sentencing Aug. 26.
Schultz and Julius Sutton, 27, were charged identically last year for allegedly assaulting Smith and burning him to death while he was unconscious inside his RV.
Investigators who responded to the scene about 3 a.m. June 12, 2012, noticed blood pooled in several areas around the camper, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Interviews compiled by Grand Junction police give two separate accounts of what happened that morning.
Schultz told investigators he was walking home from a liquor store where he attempted to buy vodka but the clerk wouldn’t let him purchase it because he was too drunk.
He said he walked past a home where a “white guy” asked if he wanted a shot so he went to the home and drank, the affidavit said.
They met up with Smith, while Schultz told police the “white guy” at some point fought with him. Schultz also claimed the other man sprayed lighter fluid around the RV, then lit the fire before they fled, only to later return to the area to watch police and firefighters at work.
Schultz told police the white male had stepped on the victim’s throat while he was on the ground.
Sutton, however, claimed Schultz assaulted the victim. Sutton has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial starting July 22.