Cole Pollard Sentenced for Strangling Patricia Richmond, Then Raping Her

It was among the most shocking crimes of 2015 — the murder of Patricia Richmond, a Routt County resident who was strangled to death, then sexually assaulted at a residence not far from Steamboat Springs.

The person who committed this horrific deed was Cole Pollard, a distant cousin of Richmond's fiancé, Keith West.

Now, Pollard has learned his punishment — and while it's unlikely that he'll live long enough to experience freedom again, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

At the time of Richmond's death, the gallery of her Facebook page was filled with stunning portraits of the young woman, including this one....

...and this one.... well as this portrait of her and West:

A far unhappier scene began unfolding at about 7:15 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 2015.

That's when emergency responders were called to a home at 56730 Lupine Court in Routt County after family members discovered a body subsequently identified as Richmond.

She wasn't breathing and did not respond to treatment.

At first, authorities were tight-lipped about details surrounding the case beyond their search for Pollard, who graduated from Steamboat Springs High School and was said to have been living with his grandparents.

There was also a report that he and West were Facebook friends and had been seen together at a bar the day Richmond died.

But additional information slowly emerged, especially after Pollard was taken into custody near a lake about seventy miles away from the home where Richmond was found dead.

In an affidavit, Pollard said that he "snapped" while in the presence of Richmond at the home of West's parents.

Pollard didn't explain what he meant by saying he snapped, but he acknowledged that the attack on Richmond was unprovoked.

After Pollard "choked Trish to death," the affidavit continued, he bound her wrists with plastic zip ties and "what appeared to be a leather belt or purse strap," then sexually assaulted her and left the residence with several belongings.

Among the items said to have been missing after he left were money, a rifle and a samurai sword.

According to 7News, Pollard has now been sentenced to sixty years in prison — fifty years for killing Richmond and an additional ten years for sexually assaulting her. The station adds that "a prison board will determine if and when Pollard is released."

Our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Patricia Richmond. Continue to see a 7News report broadcast shortly after Richmond's body was discovered.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts