James Damon Injected Meth Before Cops Killed Him in Shoot Deemed Justified
Photos of James Damon and Georgie Hand. Additional images, a video and more below.
Chaffee County Sheriff's Office
Earlier this year, we told you about the death of James Damon and arrest of Georgie Hand after the couple took a pair of hostages — a deputy and a Colorado Parks and Wildlife official.
Now, the Moffat County District Attorney has reportedly deemed Damon's killing justified — and new information offers more insight into why the situation escalated into gunfire and death.
For instance, Damon's blood was loaded with meth at the time of the incident — as much as double the amount considered likely to spur violent behavior.
According to Steamboat Today, the Moffat County DA's letter explaining why the office won't be prosecuting Moffat County Deputy Brent Shock and wildlife officer Nathan Martinez won't be released until after the prosecution of Hand, who faces a huge roster of charges: two counts apiece of attempted first-degree murder, disarming a peace office and felony menacing, four involving second-degree kidnapping, plus possession of a weapon by a previous offender and second-degree trespass on agricultural land.
However, a police report on view below adds more insight into what went down on March 9.
As we've reported, Damon has a long criminal history. We found mug shots documenting him through the years, as witnessed by this photo from Texas....
...and another one from the state, snapped a few years later:
Hand had plenty of brushes with law enforcement, too — including recently. On February 24, KSL.com reported, a $30,000 warrant was issued in her name. The accusations: "five counts of unauthorized use of a financial transaction card, a third-degree felony; one count of burglary; a third-degree felony; and six counts of theft, a class B misdemeanor."
Around that time, both Hand and Damon were being sought in Colorado, too. On February 10, the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office shared the two images at the top of this post along with the following release:
On January 24, 2015 and again on January 31, 2015 several vehicles were reported to have been broken into while parked and unattended in the Old Monarch Pass area on U.S. Highway 50, approximately 18 miles west of Salida, Colorado.
Subsequent investigation revealed that 7 different vehicles had been broken into and had items such as electronics, credit cards and ski equipment stolen from the vehicles.
In response to these reports the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office conducted a sting operation in an attempt to apprehend the individual(s) committing these acts, however this was unsuccessful.
Detectives were able to identify the suspects through surveillance footage after they began to pawn stolen items taken from the vehicles. The suspects were identified as James Brent Damon, dob 12/24/1968 and Georgie Louise Damon, also known as Georgie Louise Hand, dob 01/13/1972. The suspects are believed to be driving a 1998 white Ford Explorer with an unknown plate. Both parties have nationwide extradition warrants out of Mississippi and both have extensive criminal histories.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of seeking felony arrest warrants for both suspects.
This alert set into motion a tragic chain of events fueled by drugs — lots of them. The aforementioned arrest affidavit notes that Hand and Damon, who had been together for fourteen years were both meth users, with Hand injecting it on a daily basis and Damon doing so "2-3 times a day if not more."
And on the 9th, he was loaded. Autopsy results showed that he had 1,000 nanograms of methamphetamines per milliliter in his blood at the time of his death.
7News quotes a report that says "blood levels of 200 to 600 nanograms per milliliter have been found in people who have exhibited violent and irrational behavior."
The day before the shooting, Damon and Hand were on their way to Utah, the report says, when their Ford Explorer was "forced off the north side of the road by a high speed vehicle, which was traveling behind them and ultimately passed them," the police report says.
As a result, the vehicle veered off the roadway and sustained so much damage that it was inoperable. Damon contacted a friend in Utah to come help them get going again, after which he and Hand spent the night in the car.
The next morning, the affidavit continues, Damon and Hand traveled up a hill near the vehicle; he took with him a 9mm handgun he'd purchased in Denver, while she carried a BB gun.
A short time later, a barking dog alerted them to the presence of an approaching man with a badge: wildlife officer Martinez.
The conversation started off in friendly fashion, but before long, Damon pulled out his gun and said, "Don't fucking move."
He then ordered Hand to disarm Martinez while warning him that "if you try to touch her, if you lay a hand on her, I will shoot you."
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
TicketsFri., Sep. 1, 6:40pm
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
TicketsMon., Sep. 4, 1:10pm
Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres
TicketsFri., Sep. 15, 6:40pm
Colorado Rockies vs. Miami Marlins
TicketsMon., Sep. 25, 6:40pm
Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
TicketsFri., Sep. 29, 6:10pm
The situation became more complicated when Deputy Shock arrived. Damon and Martinez walked toward the deputy, with the original intention of merely talking with him — although that plan changed quickly when Damon pointed his gun at Shock's face and forced him to the ground alongside Martinez.
Hand, still holding the wildlife officer's gun, subsequently tried to handcuff Shock but failed, then headed down to Martinez's vehicle after he said he'd left the keys in it.
Moments later, Hand heard Damon yell, "Honey, help me." When she turned around, the report says, she saw the two hostages overtaking Damon — and he was fatally shot in the resulting melee. The officers then ordered Hand onto the ground and she complied.
The next court appearance for Hand is August 20.
Look below to see a KSL.com report from shortly after the incident, followed by the arrest affidavit.Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.