^
Keep Westword Free
4
| Crime |

Thomas LaPerch Met William Burchett Through Craigslist Ad, Then Killed Him

In March 2014, we told you about the arrest of Thomas LaPerch for the murder of William Burchett, a longtime local musician he met via a Craigslist ad.

Now, just over two years later, LaPerch has been found guilty of the crime.

According to the First Judicial District DA's office, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its verdict.

And now, the 24-year-old LaPerch faces the prospect of a life behind bars.

As we reported, Burchett was a member of the Resonatorz, a band that's been rocking metro-area venues for years.

Here's a shot of the group, with Burchett at the center.....

At the time of this death, Burchett's own Facebook page featured plenty of pics as well, including a series of shots taken during a 2013 trip to Europe. Here's one....

...and one more:

Most poignant, though, is the following shot, placed on the Resonatorz' page in the wake of Burchett's slaying.

The caption read: "Love is all there is."

Unfortunately, the end of Burchett's life was not loving in the slightest. 

At about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014, according to an arrest affidavit on view below, authorities arrived at Burchett's home, at 711 Iowa Street in Golden.

The original report: a fire.

Here's an interactive graphic of the home. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."

Heavy smoke was emanating from the structure upon the arrival of emergency personnel, and when crew members searched the building, they found Burchett's body in a bedroom.

His head is said to have been charred and blackened.

However, further investigation revealed "what appear to be stab wounds to the face, neck and arms," the affidavit notes.

The final count of the wounds exceeded twenty.

Additionally, a blood trail led to a room that had been occupied by an absent resident — a Maryland man named Thomas, who'd moved in about a week earlier after responding to a Craigslist ad.

As police discovered that the home had been "ransacked," with "closets emptied out, drawers open, chairs tipped over and travel bags in the living room," interest in this particular Thomas only increased — especially after Burchett's brother revealed that William had asked his new roomie to move out the previous day.

Once the roommate had been ID'd as LaPerch, police reached the suspect's brother, who said Thomas had told him during a phone call that he'd been hiking.

That call was then traced to a pay phone on the 16th Street Mall.

LaPerch was arrested there on March 16.

In its account of the verdict, the First Judicial District DA's office couldn't resist the opportunity to make a political statement about an unrelated topic. "LaPerch moved to Colorado from Maryland specifically because of the legalization of recreational marijuana," its release maintains.

Whatever LaPerch's reasons for coming to the state, he'll be staying here permanently. On April 15, he's due back in court for sentencing. He faces life without the possibility of parole.

That same evening, the Resonatorz will be staging what they've dubbed a "Celebration of Billy's Life" at the Lakewood Grille. We celebrate his life as well.

See the poster for that event below, followed by LaPerch's original 2014 mug shot, the very different one showing how he looks today, a 7News report broadcast in the immediate aftermath of the crime and the arrest affidavit.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

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


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.