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Matthew Burnett sentenced for murder, child porn collected at his daycare-center home

Matthew Burnett. Photos and more below.
Matthew Burnett. Photos and more below.

Last August, we told you about the arrest of Matthew Burnett after a friend of his turned up dead. The initial speculation was that he'd killed the man after catching him with his wife.

Now, Burnett has been sentenced in the slaying, as well as for possessing a slew of child-porn images -- an offense made even more disturbing by the fact that his wife (who's already pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence) ran a daycare center out of their home. Photos, details and more below.

As we've reported, the body of a man later identified as 34-year-old James Fernandez was discovered Saturday morning, August 17, on the 2500 block of 134th Circle. Here's an interactive graphic of the area near the scene; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

An affidavit in the case was obtained by the Broomfield Enterprise, which reported that Burnett and his wife, Carissa Koch, invited Fernandez over to their place the previous Friday to down a few drinks and eyeball a movie.

After watching part of the flick, the report says Koch and the man went outside to smoke a cigarette, then disappeared for what Burnett described to investigators as "a long time." So he went in search of them and claims to have found the pair in a spare bedroom -- and "a compromising position."

At that point, the affidavit continues, Burnett slugged the man in the face and gave him enough of a shove that the victim fell backward.

If this seems like a relatively minor altercation, Burnett said it turned major when the man struck his head on a small table during his tumble -- and the blow proved fatal.

Afterward, Burnett told the cops he pulled the man into the street and left him there with the idea that a good Samaritan might spot him and call for assistance.

An autopsy subsequently cast doubt on this tale. Turns out Fernandez died of strangulation, not a fatal fall.

Prosecutors estimate that it took Burnett as long as four minutes to choke the life out of him.

How did Koch respond to what happened?

Continue for more about the sentencing of Matthew Burnett, including additional photos.  

Carissa Koch's booking photo.
Carissa Koch's booking photo.

This question was answered in part when police charged Koch with evidence-tampering: It seems she tried to remove a blood stain from carpeting in their home. She pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this month.

As for Burnett, he was arrested on a murder charge -- but in the midst of the investigation, the 17th Judicial District DA's office notes that he was also found to have in his possession 129 videos and 2,700 images deemed child pornography.

The material was on a computer in the home where Koch ran a daycare facility.

Afterward, the DA's office says Burnett claimed he didn't know how the child porn had wound up where it did. In his words, the photos and clips must have "just snuck in there somehow."

In addition, prosecutors maintain that Burnett switched his story about being motivated to kill Fernandez due to jealousy, insisting instead that he was so drunk that he subsequently blacked out.

Initially, Burnett was charged with first-degree murder. But he later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and sexual exploitation of a child, and he's now been sentenced to 38 years -- 32 of them for killing Fernandez, the other six related to the child porn

Koch will be sentenced on the destroying-evidence beef on June 19. Here's a larger look at Burnett's booking photo.

Matthew Burnett.
Matthew Burnett.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Mile High Murder archive circa August 2013: "Did Matthew Burnett accidentally kill his best pal after catching him with his wife? (11)"


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