Zero to Life

Lisl Auman had met Matthaeus Jaehnig only that morning. By day's end, he and a cop were dead--and her life was over.

Later that same evening of November 12, Lisl makes a second tape. Although she still maintains she does not know Jaehnig's name, still describes his car as green, she is clearer and more focused here. In some areas the two tapes are entirely consistent--in her insistence that all she wanted to do was retrieve her own belongings, in her description of the jolting, mind-numbing ride down the mountain. She says over and over again that she was terrified, that she begged Jaehnig to stop, that she tried to get out of the car.

"Sardine said, 'Well, I guess this is what I'm gonna have to do,' and he pulled out the gun and set it on his lap and he popped it, or whatever it is you do to guns. He rolled down a window, he looked back outside, and we're swerving all over the road, and at this point I was afraid for my life, and he asked me if I would take hold of the wheel, and if I didn't...basically, he didn't give me a chance to respond. He just put his head out of the window and proceeded firing. If I hadn't put my hand on the wheel, we would have been off the road and I definitely would have died."

"You're holding on to the steering wheel?"
"I held on to it for about three seconds."
This admission will be the basis for some of the charges filed against Lisl Auman: attempted murder of a peace officer, assault and felony menacing. The jury will acquit her of the first two but find her guilty of felony menacing.

In addition, Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter will charge her with second-degree burglary and--stemming from the burglary--felony murder. The crime of felony murder occurs when someone is killed during the commission of a felony or while the perpetrators are in flight--whether or not that death was intended. All those who committed the felony, as well as any accomplices to it, are equally guilty under this law, even those who were physically absent when the death occurred. The law of felony murder goes back hundreds of years and is based in English common law. The British, however, abandoned it over forty years ago.

It will send Lisl to prison for the rest of her life.
"It's all kind of blurry to me, the order it happened," Lisl continues. "But we ended up hitting a car, like, head-on, and then there was traffic behind us, and at that point I opened the car door and wanted to get out, and he told me, 'What the fuck are you doing? Get back in here,' and all this shit, and he was very angry. I just wanted it to be over. I listened to him because he had this huge gun. I stayed in the car, he shut the door, and he sped off again." Lisl also says that something struck her on the back of the head at the moment of impact.

The Trans Am had smashed into a BMW on East Eastman Avenue. Later in the interview, Lisl says: "I was just, like, praying to myself, praying to God that everything would end soon and everybody would be all right."

Throughout the two interviews, you can see Auman fashioning a noose that Deputy District Attorney Tim Twining will eventually use to hang her. He will say that she voluntarily steered the car so that Jaehnig could shoot at the police. He will say that she is a vengeful woman who enlisted the aid of skinheads to terrorize and rob her ex-boyfriend, Shawn Cheever. In support of this latter theory, he will cite--again and again--the following statement, which occurs on Lisl's second tape: "Shawn lied to me and made me feel like a piece of shit, and basically I wanted to retaliate, I guess." Twining will not stress the clarification that follows: "He lied to me, and I wanted my stuff back."

On that tape, Lisl denies emphatically that she intended Cheever to be burglarized, but there is a moment that suggests she may have been aware the night before the trip that one of her companions, Dion Gerze, had larcenous intentions. She quotes him as saying, "What else does he have?" and, weeping, admits that she mentioned "a couple of speakers."

And she quotes another damning exchange with Gerze: "I said, take it easy on him. He's like, 'Well, I'll do the best I can,' and I think I said something like, just don't kill him, and he said something to the effect of either 'I won't' or 'I can't promise anything,' or something like that."

During both interviews, Lisl often obligingly adopts her interrogator's vocabulary. When Priest suggests she brought the skinheads with her as "muscle," she responds "I guess" and proceeds to employ the word herself later in the conversation. When he asks if Jaehnig, who sat outside in his car while the others were in the lodge at Buffalo Creek, was acting as a "lookout," Lisl responds, "I think so..."

"What do you think he was looking out for?"
She seems confused. "He might have been looking out...I don't even think he knew Shawn was not there, though...Just looking out for whatever."

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hahaha....Denver skins... what shit, they laughed at the skins and the skins only wished to be like Matthaeus