Found guilty in connection to a knife fight, a homeless veteran has been jailed and ordered to seek mental-health treatment from the federal government.
To self-medicate with marijuana, the veteran reportedly relocated to Cortez during Colorado’s “green rush.”
During a 45-minute sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 8, District Court Judge Todd Plewe said he had no doubt that the defendant, deployed to Afghanistan on two combat missions, suffered from a mental-health disorder.
Kai Blood, 26, was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for time served after a plea deal was reached in connection to the case. He was also ordered by the court to seek mental health treatment from the Veterans Administration.
“Mr. Blood belongs in jail,” Plewe said. “He’s dangerous to the community.”
Blood was arrested in March after an early morning assault with a knife inside a residence on the 600 block of N. Beech Street. Police said they found a 24-year-old man at the scene with multiple stab wounds to his face and neck.
According to police, Blood was in possession of a bloody knife when captured hours later. Initially charged with first-degree aggravated assault, Blood pleaded guilty to aggravated felony menacing.
At sentencing, public defender Katie Whitney argued that her client acted in self-defense after multiple assailants attacked him inside the residence. Blood reportedly suffered a black eye and a stab wound to the leg.
After his military service, Whitney said, Blood also served time for an undisclosed crime in Texas before relocating to Colorado. He was diagnosed with mental-health disorders in 2012, and he moved to the area in order to take advantage of the state’s decriminalization of marijuana, Whitney said.
After the court expressed concerns with the plea deal, District Attorney Will Furse said that the alleged victim and the reporting party were drug addicts, and would be unreliable in a prosecution.
“It’s a weak case,” said Furse.
Despite thanking Blood for his service to the country and acknowledging that he likely suffered from service-related mental-health problems, Plewe said he must ensure the public’s safety.
“You need treatment before you kill somebody,” Plewe told Blood.
Pointing to a probation report that revealed the defendant likely suffered from mental-health issues before joining the military, Plewe said he was further troubled that the U.S. government would deploy such an individual into a combat role.
“You need to turn to the VA,” Plewe advised Blood.
In addition to jail and mental health treatment, Blood was also ordered to 24 months of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service and substance-abuse treatment and testing.
Since the stabbing incident, Blood has been arrested and held under a $100,000 bond in two separate cases. Charged with tampering with a witness and domestic violence, Blood faces an April trial date in both cases.