Harold Mortis Sentenced for Rapper Murder That Doomed Cold Crush

Harold Mortis's booking photo.
Harold Mortis's booking photo. Denver Police Department
Harold Mortis has been sentenced to forty years in prison for the 2016 murder of Tyrone Adair Jr., a performer better known to local music lovers as BossMan Goodie. But Mortis's senseless act also played a major part in the death of Cold Crush, the hip-hop club where the slaying took place, even though the nightspot didn't close for good until nearly a year later.

As we've reported, Cold Crush, which we named Best New Bar of 2013, had been the site of violence even before Adair's tragic death. In June 2014, for example, we wrote about a shooting at the club that injured three people, one critically, at around 2:30 a.m., during a period popularly known as let-out.

The arrest affidavit for Mortis, accessible below, provides more details about the BossMan Goodie shooting. On October 10, according to the document, a fight preceded the shooting, with Adair helping a couple of security personnel to escort two men, including Mortis, outside.

At that point, Mortis allegedly headed to his car, swaddled his head in a T-shirt and returned with a gun he used to kill Adair.

The photo of Tyrone Adair Jr., aka BossMan Goodie, that topped a Facebook memorial page dedicated to him. - FACEBOOK
The photo of Tyrone Adair Jr., aka BossMan Goodie, that topped a Facebook memorial page dedicated to him.
Later, investigators found a baseball cap inside the club that witnesses tied to Mortis, and DNA confirmed that it was his, the report states. Cops also located .40 caliber ammo of the sort that was used in the shooting in Mortis's apartment.

Mortis wasn't supposed to have a gun, because of a past conviction for aggravated robbery.

In the wake of the slaying, Denver officials ordered Cold Crush closed as a public nuisance. The venue lost its liquor license as well.

In an interview published in Westword's music vertical, Cold Crush co-owner Brian Mathenge stressed that he was serious about security at the club; he used two police officers and five security guards, and searches were conducted inside and outside. He also noted that other local clubs have experienced shootings in the past without being shut down.

Cold Crush, though, had been singled out for ire by people in its neighborhood. Indeed, residents reportedly had been circulating a petition asking for stricter regulation of the venue earlier in 2016.

A photo of Cold Crush taken around the time of the venue's June 2013 opening. - PHOTO BY TREVOR ANDERSON
A photo of Cold Crush taken around the time of the venue's June 2013 opening.
Photo by Trevor Anderson
The community heat was still on in May, when Musa Bailey, another Cold Crush co-owner, posted this on Facebook:
Dear Cold Crush haters, save your time and energy and just stop. It's not gonna work. The town has already decided. You are in the minority. Stop fronting and do like the young homies say and get on the WAVE. It's too late for anything else. #ThreeYearsYaBish
Mathenge echoed this message with one of his own:
Let's put out a petition to get Cold Crush shut down.... Because it's crackin too hard, and black and white people hang out together over there. WE DON'T LIKE THAT
After the shutdown, Cold Crush fans rallied in support of the club, and it reopened on October 20 after negotiations with the City of Denver. But its rebirth wasn't permanent. Cold Crush's landlord didn't renew the venue's lease, and it closed last Halloween — and suggestions that it would reopen at the East Colfax location occupied by Southside Bar didn't come to fruition.

As for Mortis, he was originally charged with first-degree murder, as well as possession of a weapon by a previous offender. But last August, he took a deal, pleading guilty to second-degree murder. His sentencing to four decades in stir took place yesterday, January 29.

Click to read the Harold Mortis arrest affidavit.
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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