Crime

Draton Mares, ex-Craigslist hookup, guilty in Globetrotters trainer Thomas Bashline's death

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As we've reported, Bashline, who was 42 at the time of his death, supplemented his occasional work as a trainer for the Globetrotters with a side business in which he tested athletes for performance-enhancing drugs.

The latter gig factored in on early speculation about a motive after an unresponsive Bashline was found by a girlfriend at his Frederick home on November 4. (Although emergency personnel didn't initially characterize the case as a homicide because there were no obvious signs of trauma on the body, a bullet entry wound was subsequently discovered.) But investigators at the Weld County Sheriff's Office began working on a different theory after Bashline's stolen Chevy pickup was found in Boulder, more than twenty miles from his home, with a semi-automatic handgun thought to be the murder weapon inside it. Shortly thereafter, they arrested a man later identified as Mares for the slaying.

What happened? WCSO sources said Mares and Bashline had met via the "man-for-man personals section" of Craiglist. Bashline was thought to have driven to Longmont to pick up Mares, then took him back to his place, after which the man shot him in the head and stole his truck.

Many more details emerged during Mares's recently concluded trial, which lasted nine days.

Prosecutors put forward a simple scenario. They said Mares and Bashline had met through Craigslist way back in May 2010. On the fateful day in November 2011, Bashline drove Mares to his place and laid down on his bed for a nude massage. But something went wrong, the prosecution contended, with Mares eventually blindfolding Bashline, covering his head with a pillow and shooting him with a handgun he'd swiped in a previous burglary before stealing his truck and making his getaway.

Evidence used to connect Mares to the crime included DNA, text messages and feathers that were found both at the victim's house and on the accused killer's shoes.

As for Mares, he didn't deny pulling the trigger in testimony recounted by the Boulder Daily Camera. Instead, his legal team focused on arguing that second-degree murder was a more appropriate charge, because the killing had happened during the heat of passion.

Continue to read Draton Mares's description of how he killed Thomas Bashline.
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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