A trial date has been set in the first-degree murder case against Kevin Wade Folsom.
Folsom has pleaded not guilty, said District Attorney Will Furse.
During an arraignment on Thursday, District Court Judge Doug Walker set a trial date for Sept. 4. The trial is expected to last up to three weeks, with the first week likely needed to pick a jury.
Folsom’s public defender, Barrie Newberger-King, had requested the arraignment be delayed because defense needed time for further investigation, but the request was not granted.
At an April 6 court appearance, Newberger-King reported that prosecutors offered Folsom a plea deal, but it hasn’t been accepted. The details of the offer were not released, but Furse said that the trial date does not close the door on a plea agreement.
Walker said prosecution has 21 days to announce whether they will seek the death penalty.
Attorneys have until June 30 to file motions, and motion hearings were set for July 30 and 31 at 9 a.m. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 11 a.m.
Folsom attended the hearing shackled and handcuffed wearing beige prison garb, and did not speak during the hearing. A dozen of Box’s family and friends attended the proceeding. Folsom’s wife was also in attendance.
Folsom has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of James Box Jr., of Ignacio, who was shot on Jan. 2 in the Haycamp Mesa area east of Dolores.
He was arrested Jan. 3 and accused of second-degree murder charge, which was then elevated to first-degree murder. Folsom, of Montezuma County, has been in custody at the Montezuma County jail under a $500,000 bond.
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 body 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. Box’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 that 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.