When Spencer Crawford was sentenced in February to four years in prison for the drug-related stabbing death of his friend Angus Gaudin, part of the reason he did not receive a longer prison term was the testimony of Angus' father, Steve Gaudin, who asked for leniency.
Now — little more than six months later — Crawford may soon be transferred from prison to a Boulder-area halfway house, after the Boulder County Community Corrections Board approved the move in June.
The case dates back to June 19, 2013 when Crawford, then 19, and Angus Gaudin, 17, both of Boulder, were camping outside of Nederland with a group of friends. According to court records, Crawford said both were under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol.
Following an exchange during which Gaudin reportedly said he didn't trust himself not to hurt the other campers and asked Crawford to hide a machete the younger teen had been carrying, Crawford told investigators he became increasingly paranoid about Gaudin. He said he intended to talk to him about it, but "jumped the gun," pulling his own knife from a sheath on his belt and fatally stabbing Gaudin in the chest.
Crawford, in December, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and felony drug distribution in an agreement with prosecutors stipulating that he would serve between two and six years in prison.
Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Macdonald in February said he had intended to sentence Crawford to the maximum six year term, but decided on four years after Steve Gaudin at the sentencing hearing asked him to be merciful.
"Even though my family and I are still greatly suffering, we view Angus' death as an incredibly tragic accident," Steve Gaudin, who could not be reached for comment for this story, said that day. "We ask you to be as lenient as possible with this sentencing today."
'No one wanted him to go to prison'
According to meeting minutes provided to the Camera, the Boulder County Community Corrections Board at a June 10 gathering, decided to approve Crawford for transfer out of prison early also in part because of the Gaudin family's position in the case.
"Spencer has only served a 3 month sentence but has no prior criminal history. This was a drug (LSD) induced crime with tragic outcome," the board discussion portion of those minutes read.
"No one wanted him to go to prison, not even the victim's parents. Board agrees that he needs a positive environment and could do better being involved in community versus prison."
According to those notes, Boulder County Jail Cmdr. Doug Caven also expressed concern that if Crawford stayed in prison longer he might be exposed to criminals that could negatively influence him.
The board, made up of volunteer county residents, and representatives from the Boulder District Attorney and public defender's offices, local probation department and the Boulder County Jail, voted 8-0 with one abstention to move Crawford to a community corrections program as soon as possible.
Greg Brown, Boulder County's chief probation officer, attended that meeting. He said moving Crawford to a halfway house would provide a better support system for transitioning back into society than simply letting him serve more of his sentence in prison and then releasing him back into the custody of his parents.
"We thought it was better for him to come out to a structured setting as opposed to right back into the community," Brown said, saying the more eyes and ears available to help Crawford with his transition the better.
Boulder Assistant District Attorney Ryan Brackley could not attend the June 10th meeting — Deputy DA J.P. Martin filled in that day — but has knowledge of the Crawford case. He said the board has to consider not only what is best for Crawford, but what is best for the community when making decisions concerning a transfer him out of prison.
"The question before the board, from a public safety standpoint, would be, is the community better served by having Spencer Crawford transitioned into the community through a halfway house as opposed to paroled straight back into the community without that level of supervision?" Brackley said. "It could be safer for him and the community to parole into a halfway house."
Crawford, as of this week, remains at the Sterling Correctional Facility, where he has served a little more than six months of his sentence.
Move now a matter of paperwork
How soon he may be transferred to a halfway house comes down to space and timing now, Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adriennne Jacobson said.
"It is essentially a paperwork process at this point," she said on Friday. "Once approval is in place from the local authority, it's just a matter of scheduling when they are able to take him in."
Jacobson said, as often happens when transferring convicted offenders from county jails to prisons, Crawford is likely waiting for a bed to open at the a halfway house he and his department or corrections case manager have selected for him.
"He can't just be approved to go into the community general; there has to be a place that is willing to take him," she said.
Even when he transitions to a halfway house, Jacobson said, Crawford will still not be eligible for review by the parole board until Oct. 11, 2015.
By that time, he will have served 20 months of his four-year sentence.
Crawford will be subject to 10 years of intensive supervised probation upon his release for the drug distribution charge he pleaded to, as well as three years of parole for manslaughter.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org