Kurt Levias. Additional photos, a video and more below.
Kurt Levias. Additional photos, a video and more below.
Family photo via Causes.com

George Allen IV's Cigarette Butt Solves Kurt Levias's Bluebird Theater Murder

In March 2014, we told you about the arrest of George Allen IV, aka "Slim Ryder," in connection with the murder of Kurt Levias, 21, outside a hip-hop show at the Bluebird Theater ten years earlier.

More than a year later, Allen has been sentenced in the slaying, and an arrest affidavit on view below reveals the evidence that led to his conviction, including a random comment by his mom following the airing of an America's Most Wanted episode about the crime and a DNA match that used a surreptitiously obtained cigarette butt.

The facts of the case are painful to consider more than a decade later.

On August 4, 2004, as we've reported, police responded to a report of a fight outside the Bluebird. Upon their arrival, they discovered a man later identified as Levias had been shot — and he died of his injuries a short time later. Later investigation revealed that Levias had been involved in an argument with a man that had spilled outside the venue — but that individual remained at large.

The show at the Bluebird that night was part of the "Starterz in tha Game Tour," and among the featured artists was Twyla Rivers, who performed under the name Lady MEnace. She also happened to be a cousin of Levias, who acted as her bodyguard.

One was needed. While Rivers was onstage, several women are said to have started taunting Rivers's sixteen-year-old cousin, Paris Landrum. Two older sisters quickly came to Landrum's defense, prompting a fistfight involving bodyguards from different groups on the bill. At that point, Levias, who'd been on the stage keeping an eye out for Rivers, jumped into the fray, too.

The battle continued outside the theater, with one observer suggesting that it lasted 45 minutes. But even after it ended, the aggression continued, with a man later identified as "Slim Ryder" allegedly striking one of Landrum's sisters. In response, Levias reportedly hit Ryder.

Another family photo of Kurt Levias.
Another family photo of Kurt Levias.
File photo

A moment later, Levias was on the ground — at which point Ryder shot him six times from point-blank range.

An indication of the esteem in which Levias was held: More than 1,000 people attended his funeral. However, Ryder — Allen — remained at large until early last year.

What led to his arrest? The arrest affidavit has many blacked-out sections, but those that appear reveal that the investigation stalled for years prior to the America's Most Wanted episode, which aired in 2010.

In October of that year, the document reveals, Denver detectives received a hotline tip from a physician who said a woman later identified as Allen's mother "came in complaining about physical pain because she was told Monday that her son was featured on the America's Most Wanted television show" — specifically in photos that had been taken at the show on the night Levias died.

Allen's mom told the doctor her son had previously told her that he'd killed someone, and she'd advised him to surrender. He responded by saying he had to go see his wife, because they were having marital problems — and while he promised to return, he hadn't done so. The woman added that her son's first name was George, but she didn't reference his last name other than to say it was different from hers.

A tribute to Levias was staged at the Bluebird Theater following his death.
A tribute to Levias was staged at the Bluebird Theater following his death.
File photo

Three years later, in November 2013, the next break in the case came courtesy of an agent with Homeland Security, who was told by a source that he'd recognized a photo of Slim Ryder on the America's Most Wanted show — and he knew his real name, his address, his phone number and even details about his previous arrest record, including busts in San Diego and Las Vegas on charges that included a stolen car and a weapon-possession violation.

Prior to that time, Allen had been interviewed by authorities about the Levias killing and denied involvement. What the cops needed was evidence definitively linking him to the crime scene, and they found it in January 2014. Detectives learned where Allen was working and obtained several cigarette butts that he'd discarded there. The butts were then shipped to Denver and analyzed for DNA.

The samples found on the butts were then compared to DNA on the gun that had been used to kill Levias; it had been discovered after the shooting. And they matched.

After being arrested in Vegas last year, Allen was transported to Colorado. He's remained in custody since then, and in custody he'll remain. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and one crime-of-violence count that served as a sentence enhancer. Last Friday, he was sentenced to 27 and a half years in prison.

Look below to see Allen's mug shot, followed by a tribute video to Levias and the arrest affidavit.

George Allen IV.
George Allen IV.
Denver District Attorney's Office
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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