The February murders of Amara Wells and Bob Rafferty were followed by a series of busts, with arrestees including Amara's estranged husband, Christopher Wells, and three men implicated in a murder-for-hire plot. But only now are getting the horrific details of the case, including an account about Rafferty's six-year-old niece, who saw her uncle wrestling with his alleged slayer, Josiah Sher. She survived because he hadn't been paid to kill her, too.
As we've noted, Christopher was in custody at the time Amara and Robert, her brother in law, were shot and stabbed to death in a Keene Ranch home, having violated a restraining order against him. Nonetheless, he was charged with murder in the case along with Josiah Sher and Micah Woody, both of whom were linked to him by their employment at Rocky Mountain Auto Brokers, a Colorado Springs used-car dealership were all three of them worked.
Christopher had been fired from his gig as finance manager at the dealership, but Woody and Sher were still employed there. When they returned to work a couple of days after the killings, the general manager told the press they looked "rough" -- especially Sher, whose face was covered with scratches.
Also arrested was Matthew Plake, who'd worked at the auto brokerage as well, before being sacked from a sales position. And two women were charged in April as accessories: Krystal Kurcz and Megan Cassidy.
Back then, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office declined to reveal the link between this pair and the men charged with the killings. However, Facebook links tied Kurcz to various individuals with the surname "Sher," suggesting that she may have been in a relationship with Josiah.
As for details of the murders themselves, authorities kept the information to themselves until yesterday, when a preliminary hearing took place. And the reported testimony of Sergeant Joseph Weaver was chilling -- as was a videotaped confession by Sher.
According to Sher, he was offered $20,000 by middleman Woody for three murders -- $10,000 for Amara, plus $5,000 apiece for Rafferty and his wife, Tamara, who was out of town on the fateful morning. Sher showed up with a knife and a revolver. He went downstairs, where he found Amara -- but even though the military vet shot her twice, neither bullet killed her. One grazed her nose, the Denver Post notes, while the other failed to puncture her brain. So Sher stabbed her and sliced open her throat.
Shortly thereafter, Bob emerged from an upstairs room, holding a shotgun -- but the time it took for him to load it allowed Sher to get the drop on him. The pair began fighting, with Sher knocking out several of Rafferty's teeth. He then managed to grab his revolver and shoot Bob in the chest -- after which he used his knife to "finish him off."
The young girl saw part of this fight, and Sher eyeballed her as well -- but he told Weaver he decided not to kill her because she hadn't been on the death list he'd been given. Next, he tried to start a fire to destroy the enormous amount of physical evidence he left behind. But when flames failed to grow to his satisfaction, even though he used gasoline as an accelerant, he split.
And the girl? She'd had to jump over her mother's body earlier in order to escape flying bullets. Afterward, she ran to a neighbor's house -- quite a distance in this area -- to reveal that her mother and uncle were dead, lying in pools of blood.
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SHOW ME HOW
Below, see two 9News videos: the first shortly after the discovery of the bodies, the second based on yesterday's developments.