Kevin Wade Folsom, who has been charged with killing a Southern Ute man on Haycamp Mesa, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing in order to review a plea deal from the Montezuma County District Attorney’s office, according to his lawyer.
Folsom, 39, of Montezuma County, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of James Box. Jr., 42, of Ignacio.
The killing took place on the night of Jan. 2 in the San Juan National Forest east of Dolores off Haycamp Road. Folsom was arrested Jan. 3 and accused of second-degree murder charge, which was then elevated to first-degree murder. He has been in custody at the Montezuma County jail under a $500,000 bond.
During a District Court hearing on Friday, Folsom waived his right to a preliminary hearing, a process intended to present probable cause for the charges and allow Folsom and his attorney to respond.
However, public defender Barrie Newberger-King reported that he and Folsom were reviewing plea deal from the DA’s office. Folsom is scheduled to enter a plea at an arraignment at 1:30 p.m. May 10.
While sitting handcuffed and wearing beige prison garb, Folsom responded, “Yes, your honor” when asked by District Court Judge Doug Walker if he voluntarily agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing. When asked if he had questions, Folsom stated, “No sir, I feel comfortable moving forward.”
Walker denied a request to reduce Folsom’s bond, citing his criminal history, previous flight and “the seriousness of the offense.” Newberger-King argued that Folsom was a low flight risk because his wife and children are in the area.
DA William Furse stated that Box’s relatives, who appeared distraught Friday in court, opposed a reduction of bond.
“They continue to grieve for the loss of their family member,” Furse said.
Furse also cited Folsom’s criminal history, which began in 1997 and included charges of flight and violent crime. According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, Folsom’s criminal record includes a drug charge, escape attempts, burglary and theft. In 2008, he was charged with first-degree burglary in La Plata County and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Sterling Correctional Facility. He was released on parole in 2014.
Folsom initially was charged with second-degree murder, but after an investigation, the charge was increased to first-degree murder on Jan. 18. He was also charged with possessing a controlled substance, committing a crime of violence and being a habitual criminal.
According to court records, on the night of Jan. 2, Folsom, Box, and Box’s wife drove to Haycamp Mesa and partied in an area off Indian Ridge Road. Meth use allegedly was involved.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin reported that a citizen contacted him Jan. 3 about a man who had been fatally shot. After a three-hour search, deputies found Box’s with a bullet wound to his head. They arrested Folsom that day as he drove on Colorado Highway 145 and County Road M.
According to an arrest affidavit by sheriff’s Detective Tyson Cox, Folsom left the scene of the slaying, then attempted to make arrangements with the citizen to “dispose” of Box’s body. The victim’s clothing had been removed.
Folsom allegedly told Cox that Box had been shot before he shot him.
The affidavit states that Folsom said the three went to Haycamp to party and use meth. Folsom said he heard a gunshot during a fight between Box and his wife.
Folsom said he did not know who had the gun or who had brought it, but he said he saw Box “bleeding profusely.” Folsom stated he picked the gun off the ground and shot Box in the head “to put him out of his misery,” according to the affidavit.
Folsom reportedly said he did not call 911 because he didn’t want to be arrested for the drugs and shooting, and he did not believe Box would live that long because he’d lost a lot of blood.
According to an obituary in The Durango Herald, Box, 42, grew up on the Southern Ute reservation and has two children. His Native American name is Buffalo Horse.
A Go Fund Me account has been created to raise money for Folsom and his family. In the posting, he is described as having had a “relapse” that led to his arrest, which has left his family in a “really hard situation. Of the $5,000 goal for the account, $105 has been donated.