Who's the bigger schmuck -- the guy who leads the way when it comes to schmucky behavior, or the friend who goes along with everything, then claims afterward that it wasn't really his fault?
Ponder this eternal question while perusing the tale of Robert Lee Larsen, ringleader of a drunken crime spree, and Tony Kelly, who was at his side for most of it, but subsequently insisted that he didn't really deserve any of the blame for this particular Journey to Stupidity.
The details come to us from the Vail Daily, which notes that Larsen has been racking up criminal charges since 1999, with accusations against him over the years that followed involving drugs, reckless endangerment, parole violations and assorted vehicular and traffic crimes.
In court, Larsen blamed most of his problems on booze. True, he managed to stay off the sauce for over three years, from February 2010 to June of this year -- but that's because he was in prison for most of that stretch. Afterward, he quickly went back to liquor, which fueled the July 9 escapade that's resulted in him heading back to the Big House.
On that day, Larsen asked Tony Kelly, a buddy of his, to hop into an Audi he was driving and go for what Kelly's attorney characterized as a "joy ride." But joy was in short supply, since the Audi was stolen -- something the lawyer insists Kelly didn't know -- and got a flat tire on a remote dirt road in Eagle County.
Bummer. Fortunately, Larsen had a solution: Burn the Audi (which didn't really work out all that well) and steal another vehicle, this one a Jeep, from a home on Cottonwood Pass Road. And while he was at it, why not take some guns, too?
Presumably, Kelly understood that this ride hadn't been purchased from a reputable dealer. So why did he go along with the plan? He was intoxicated, his attorney explained.
At any rate, the Jeep wouldn't prove to be a long-term transportation solution for the duo, either, since Larsen rolled rolled it, and was hurt badly enough during the process to make his mug shot particularly memorable.
Eagle County Sheriff's Office personnel were subsequently called to the scene and took both Larsen and Kelly into custody -- and in addition to finding the Audi, they also discovered a motorcycle that had also been swiped in the Cottonwood Pass area.
Larsen has now been sentenced to twelve years in prison for these assorted shenanigans, and even though Kelly's lawyer argued for community corrections in lieu of incarceration, a judge gave him eight years of his own.
One possible reason: Kelly had five previous felony convictions -- only one fewer than Larsen.
Maybe some day he'll catch up. Here are larger looks at both of their booking photos.
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Gerrit Keats faces jail for threatening 'f-ing pig' who banned Lance Armstrong."
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.