| Crime |

Puppy Stabber Matthew Weatherspoon: Max Sentence for Trafficking a Human

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

In 2011, Matthew Weatherspoon made headlines in Denver for stabbing his girlfriend's bulldog puppy — in self-defense, he insisted at the time. 

Now, Weatherspoon is back in the news — this time for mistreating and exploiting a human being.

According to the 18th Judicial District DA's office, he was the first person to go to trial under Colorado's 2014 human-trafficking statute — and he's now been handed a sentence that could last the rest of his life.

In June 2011, as we reported at the time, police responded to an apartment at 6875 Iliff Avenue after Weatherspoon allegedly responded to being nipped by the puppy, a five-month-old named Diamond, by stabbing the dog five times and throwing her outside because he was upset that she was bleeding all over the place.

Diamond was found wandering nearby and immediately transported to a veterinary hospital, where she underwent three hours of surgery. She survived and recovered.

For his part, Weatherspoon, who didn't have a visible bite mark, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated animal cruelty. In a subsequent 9News interview, he said he understood why people were angry with him, maintaining that "I'm angry at myself, too. But I had no clue what to do at the time. I was panicking. It was either fight or flight."

He added that "the only people who can sympathize with me are the people who have been attacked by animals. I'm not a crocodile hunter. I don't know how to deal with animal attacks other than to defend myself."

These excuses didn't prevent the hammer from coming down. Weatherspoon received thirty months of probation for the crime circa November 2011.

Cut to April 30, 2015. That's when the 18th Judicial District DA's office says the FBI Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about an underage girl advertising sexual services online.

The ads led investigators to a hotel, where the fifteen-year-old was living with Weatherspoon. She's said to have been a runaway who met him at a 4/20 celebration on the 16th Street Mall.

Within 24 hours, prosecutors argued, Weatherspoon had convinced the teen that if she loved him, she'd prostitute herself on his behalf — and she allegedly did. The DA's office calculates that she took part in more than twenty sex acts over the next ten days or so.

The case went to trial in Arapahoe County earlier this year, and on May 20, Weatherspoon was found guilty of human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude, patronizing a child prostitute, pimping of a child, pandering of a child, keeping a place of child prostitution, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His sentence, imposed this week: 24 years to life.

In a statement, District Attorney George Brauchler, who spoke to us for a post published earlier today about what he sees as faults in Colorado's felony-DUI law, said, “This first-of-its-kind trial should serve as notice that in Colorado, law enforcement, courts and our community are unanimously committed to holding those accountable who view our children as little more than sexual objects from whom they can turn a profit. There is no rehabilitation for such a predator. There is prison, to punish him and to protect us."

And protect puppies, too.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.