4
| News |

Snake Murder Conspirators Cut Deals

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

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

Both men accused of hatching a murder-by-snake plot to kill Amateur Poker Tour owner Matt Sowash have now had the most serious charges against them dropped. Herb Beck and Christopher Steelman (profiles in the September 27 feature "Free Poker Tour Is a Dead Man's Hand") were arrested in August, charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and extortion, and held in the Jefferson County Jail on $500,000 bonds.

Beck had invested money with the Wheat Ridge-based APT -- which the CBI is currently investigating for securities fraud -- and hired Steelman as a private detective because he believed Sowash was hiding money. The two then allegedly plotted to kill or extort money from Sowash, and sent him a series of threatening emails. But Steelman also went to Sowash separately to warn him, and cooperated with investigators.

In September, Steelman’s bond was reduced to $10,000 and the murder and kidnapping charges against him were dropped as part of an agreement reached with prosecutors.

On Friday, Beck received a similar deal. He pled guilty to extortion, the other charges against him were dropped and his bond reduced to $25,000. He will be sentenced Jan. 22.

Steelman’s arraignment on the extortion charge is Nov. 26.

Both men are out on bond. -- Jessica Centers

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.