Jeremiah Damron has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2017 death of his mother and will be committed to the Colorado Department of Human Services.
During a hearing on March 14 in 22nd Judicial District Court, state psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Gray provided testimony as an expert witness. Based on his recommendation, the prosecution and defense stipulated that Damron was mentally insane at the time of the criminal offense, according to a statement from District Attorney Will Furse.
The court committed Damron to the custody of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, Furse stated, where he will remain indefinitely until he is safe and fit for release. Court documents state several family members spoke during the hearing.
“Mr. Damron’s case represents a unique perspective into the consequences a community must face when mental illness is untreated or undiagnosed,” Furse stated. “Our hearts go out to those who have suffered through the effects Mr. Damron’s mental deterioration and must mourn the loss of a loved one.”
He stated he hopes the Colorado Legislature stops ignoring the needs of the mentally ill and provides “meaningful resources” toward diagnosis and care.
“With proper attention to the needs of our mentally afflicted, violence like this could be prevented,” Furse stated.
Damron, 38, was arrested on July 20, 2017, after his mother’s body was found beaten and burned in the backyard of his mobile home off County Road G in Cortez.
He was initially found competent to stand trial in August 2018, but a second sanity evaluation was ordered after he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in October 2018.
Damron was arrested on North Sligo Street by Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin and two Cortez police officers on July 20, 2017. Nowlin said officers had responded to a report of a homicide at Damron’s mobile home in the 7000 block of County Road 21.75.
The body of Kristie Damron, 62, was found in his backyard that morning.
Deputies had confronted Damron the night before the arrest in response to a report of domestic violence and assault. He said deputies were able to “de-escalate the situation” and remove Damron’s wife and son from the property.