A former Army soldier and MMA fighter has been sentenced to two years at Hilltop House community correction center in Durango for violating probation stemming from drug and burglary charges.
Cortez resident David P. Lyons, 28, has a history of drug addiction and mental health issues. He pleaded guilty in 22nd Judicial District Court in March 2018 to trespassing a dwelling in September 2017. He was sentenced in June to two years of probation and 140 hours of community service. A plea deal dismissed one count of possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.
His probation lasted six months, during which time Lyons faced at least four warrants issued for his arrest: two for failure to comply and two for failure to appear. His probation was terminated after an arrest at Walmart on Nov. 15, where Lyons allegedly caused property damage while under the influence of meth.
According to a Cortez Police Department incident report, a Walmart employee requested a welfare check on Lyons, who is permanently trespassed from Walmart. The employee stated Lyons looked very sick and he was worried about him.
Officers contacted Lyons inside the store and soon realized he was not going to comply with their commands. Lyons refused to put his hands behind his back and instead lowered his body to the ground like he was taking a fighting stance. An officer hooked Lyons’ leg and brought him to the ground. A crowd of shoppers watched the altercation.
As the officers carried Lyons out of the store, he allegedly kicked the entrance door at Walmart, causing $500 to $800 in damage. Officers then searched Lyons and found an uncapped syringe, a small bag of meth and a broken glass pipe on his body.
On the trespassing case from September 2017, Lyons admitted to breaking into an apartment on County Road P. A Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office incident report states a 61-year-old man reported found Lyons and his girlfriend in the bathroom of his apartment.
Lyons told a deputy that he entered the apartment because he thought no one was staying there, according to the incident report. He said he found an eviction notice on a table inside and started going through the belongings in the apartment so the items wouldn’t go to waste.
Lyons and his girlfriend were arrested for trespassing. Officers allegedly found a rock of meth in a pill bottle in Lyons’ pocket and found two syringes in a bathroom at a nearby apartment where he was staying. One of the syringes tested positive for meth.
Chief Judge Douglas Walker on Thursday sentenced Lyons to one year at Hilltop House for the drug charges from Walmart and two years at Hilltop House for violating probation from the trespassing charge. The sentences will run concurrently.
Before sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Margeson said the presentence investigation was not very optimistic about Lyons or his chances of success.
“The issues here are twofold,” Margeson said. “One is a serious drug problem, and another is mental health issues that the PSI notes multiple times.”
He said he believes some of these issues arose out of his military service. If Lyons is not successful in community corrections, Margeson said the court would be obligated to “warehouse” Lyons with the Colorado Department of Corrections, which would do very little to treat his mental health and drug addiction.
“If he does wish to be successful, Hilltop House is his best shot,” Margeson said.
Public defender Richard Sims said Lyons has skills in culinary arts and could get a job as a cook or chef when he gets out, or possibly during his time at Hilltop House.
Walker then asked Lyons if he would like to say anything. The defendant said he was at a loss for words, but confirmed that he is looking forward to community corrections.
“I would like to go to Hilltop, to tell you the truth,” Lyons said. “Get my life back together.”
Walker said he’s willing to give him a chance.
“I can’t imagine there being a second chance, so don’t blow it, please,” Walker said.