Among 2012's most heinous crime was the murder of 56-year-old Beverly Liggett, whose body was dismembered, allegedly by her son, Ari Misha Liggett. On Monday, a jury found Liggett guilty, and this afternoon, he'll be sentenced for a slaying said to have been motivated by his discovery that Beverly had disinherited him.
As we've reported, the now-26-year-old Liggett's name first appeared in this space in March 2010, after he was arrested at an Arapahoe County UPS office on a warrant for illegal weapons possession -- specifically, a silencer.
Afterward, Boulder Police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley told us at the time, Liggett "indicated that he'd been staying at the Boulder Homeless Shelter and had some materials in a suitcase in a locker there that could potentially be dangerous if someone didn't know what they were or how to handle them."
Boulder authorities evacuated the shelter during the afternoon, before any clients had checked in for the night, and called for the bomb squad and a hazmat team. After X-raying the suitcase, they opened it to discover a Mason-jar-type container and an original shipping package containing a substance Huntley described as "granular." The material, which was subsequently identified as potassium ferrocyanide, was safely transported off the premises and the shelter was reopened, but not until almost midnight, approximately seven hours after the entire ordeal began.
According to the Denver Post, Liggett pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in relation to the incidents and received a four-year deferred sentence and a year's worth of probation.
Certainly a bizarre story, but hardly one that predicted a subsequent tragedy -- although, strangely enough, that crime also involved cyanide.
At about 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 15, according to a release sent under the name of former Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, ACSO deputies responded to 6223 East Peakview Avenue in regard to a report about two missing people: Liggett, 24, and Beverly, a registered nurse. The call came from family members who said they were concerned for their welfare.
A missing persons report was issued and deputies were able to trace the Liggetts' whereabouts to the Western Slope via credit card transactions. Then, at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning, deputies spotted a vehicle associated with the pair driving through a neighborhood adjacent to the East Peakview address. They weren't able to stop the car at that time, but about twenty minutes later, a Greenwood Village Police officer tried again and succeeded, but not without some damage.
Another photo of Beverly Liggett, from 9News coverage.
Liggett was arrested after a one-car crash and brief foot chase, after which officers discovered the dismembered remains of an adult female in the backseat of his car.
The Arapahoe County coroner positively identified the body as belonging to Beverly. Meanwhile, 9News spoke with Ronald Liggett, Ari's father, whose concerns, and those of Beverly's current boyfriend, when Beverly didn't answer the phone originally led to the investigation. He told the station Liggett is mentally ill.
"This is a mental-health issue," he said. "Like you're seeing every day in the papers, it won't be positively addresses until the society takes it as seriously as the war on drugs or terrorism."
More details from the station: Investigators who entered the Peakview home when the case was still about a missing person, not homicide, discovered blood in a freezer and bathtub, as well as what are described as "cutting tools" in the dishwasher. Also on scene was what was believed to be potassium cyanide in its more dangerous liquid form.
The implication: Liggett may have killed and dismembered Beverly in Centennial before he was caught with her remains -- meaning he may have been driving around with them for days.
For his part, Liggett reportedly told police that he found his mom dead in the living room of the home and believed she'd killed herself -- but rather than calling the authorities, he put her in the freezer out of panic. He added, however, that he'd recently found out he wasn't listed in his mom's will, which authorities quickly interpreted as a motive.
The crime scene at the Liggett's Centennial home.
More disturbing information was found in a January 2010 court filing accessed by 9News. According to the documents, Beverly was afraid for her life back then due to her son's actions. Part of her concerns came from the discovery of a modified rifle, supplemented by two containers of potassium ferrocyanide and a gas mask, among his stuff -- but he's also said to have announced in the past that he intended to "get rid of the family," including Beverly and his younger sister.
As noted by CBS4, Liggett pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the crime, but a jury didn't buy it. On Monday, he was convicted of first-degree murder.
Today at 1:30 p.m. in the Arapahoe County Justice Center, Division 206, Liggett is expected to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the killing.
Look below to see a larger version of Liggett's 2012 mug shot, followed by CBS4 report about the guilty verdict and a 9News piece from shortly after his arrest.
Ari Misha Liggett.
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