A man who faces multiple criminal charges including allegedly stabbing his girlfriend, abusing a child and stealing his former wife’s car is considering a plea bargain offered by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Christopher Wheat, 29, was arrested Jan. 5 on Harrison Street in Cortez after police responded to a report of a stabbing.
He was charged by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, felony menacing, aggravated motor vehicle theft, child abuse and obstructing a police officer.
During a court appearance Thursday in Montezuma County Court, Wheat waived his right to a preliminary hearing to consider a plea offer. The case was bound over to district court.
According to the proposed plea agreement offered by District Attorney Matt Margeson, if Wheat pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony, he would face a sentence of up to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
The remaining charges would be dismissed if Wheat and the judge accepted the proposed plea deal.
A crime of violence sentence enhancer increased the potential jail sentence beyond the usual range of two to six years range for second-degree assault.
Wheat is being held at the Montezuma County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.
According to the Cortez Police Department, Wheat’s former wife reported that she heard a commotion next door, where Wheat’s girlfriend lives.
The woman said Wheat told her that he had just stabbed his girlfriend and wanted to kill himself, an incident report said.
The woman who Cortez police identified as Wheat’s girlfriend, Ashley Jeter, was treated for “serious bodily injury” because of chest stab wounds, according to a physician at Southwest Memorial Hospital.
Wheat allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and coerced his former wife into giving him the keys to her Kia. He drove off but returned about an hour later and broke into his her house, the police report said. When officers arrived, Wheat grabbed his young child and held him up at his chest. He pointed a knife at officers as he retreated toward a hallway.
Wheat then went into the bathroom and closed the door. He stated to the police that he couldn’t come out and that he “took some bad drugs.”
Wheat eventually opened the door and complied with police demands to sit down and drop the knives and he was placed into custody. Wheat’s next court appearance is March 16 in front of District Court Judge Todd Plewe.
Journal reporter Anthony Nicotera contributed to this report.