Murder-by-snake case takes on new twist as the victim, Matt Sowash, is arrested

Poker tour entrepreneurs Matt Sowash and Andrew "Doc" Hicks were arrested this week and charged with securities fraud. Investigators have been working on the case for two years, ever since two other men hatched a plot to kill Sowash using rattlesnakes.

In that case, detailed in the 2007 Westword feature, "Free Poker Tour Is a Dead Man's Hand," Herb Beck, an investor in a previous poker tour owned by Sowash, the Amateur Poker Tour, and Christopher Steelman were first charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and extortion. Both eventually had the more serious charges dropped in return for pleading guilty to lesser charges.

Sowash and Hicks were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week by officers with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Details are sketchy, but it appears that both men have been charged with five counts of felony securities fraud, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney's office. Sowash is scheduled for a court hearing in Jefferson County on July 31, Hicks for August 3.

Westword will update this story as details become available.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes