Tyrus Vanmatre, Wannabe Model, Gets Life in Prison for Machete Attack

In photos from a deleted page on StarNow, a website for people interested in acting and modeling, Tyrus Vanmatre looks more like a member of One Direction than a potential killer.

But he's now been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly attempting to kill a friend with a machete.

We first told you about the 21-year-old from Littleton in a 2014 post that highlighted the disconnect between the images of Vanmatre and the brutal crime for which he was accused.

As we've reported, Vanmatre's Facebook page, which remains online at this writing, contains only a couple of images, including this one....

...and this one:

But there were many more images on the aforementioned StarNow page.

Here are three portraits.... another trio of shots....

...supplemented by two more:

His StarNow profile read:
I used to be a hockey player so I am very familiar with competition. I have never been an actor but I am taking an acting and modeling class with MTM Denver, and I am doing very well. I have hit a wall in my hockey career and I am looking to become an actor. I have been all over the country and to a few places in Europe to compete, so I am not afraid to travel to where I am needed. I understand that hard work is always needed and I will put in my heart and soul to succeed in my new career.
Under the "acting" tab on the page, Vanmatre maintained that he'd mastered the "USA California" accent and noted, "I have always wanted to be an actor and I believe I would do very well as one. I have been told that I should get into acting or modeling. I have never really applied myself in this career because of my hockey career but I want to learn and make something of myself as an actor. I am funny, charming, and I learn new things very fast."

The references to hockey are borne out by numerous online references, including a Summit County Times article from March 2012 revealing that Vanmatre earned all-conference honorable mention while playing at Summit High School. The piece says that as the SHS goalie, he "started every game, led the league in saves and was one of three goalies in the conference to get two shutouts."

But he subsequently made headlines for more than keeping pucks out of nets.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on June 17, 2014, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office, a deputy on patrol spotted an eighteen-year-old subsequently identified as Jadon Jellis stumbling along Swan Mountain Road near Sapphire Point.

He's said to have been covered with blood and suffering from "obvious facial lacerations."

Jellis was rushed to a medical facility in Frisco, but his condition was serious enough that he was soon transferred to St. Anthony hospital in Denver.

During an interview with authorities, Jellis is said to have identified Vanmatre as his attacker.

According to CBS4, the two made a connection after Vanmatre met Jellis's brother in an acting class. Vanmatre and Jadon grew close so quickly that they even made plans to move in together.

Somewhere along the lines, however, the relationship obviously soured.

Jellis is said to have believed Vanmatre stole several thousand dollars from him — but such an offense pales in comparison with what came next.

An arrest affidavit stated that Vanmatre lured Jellis into the area on the pretext that they were "going to do a job" — an allusion to a possible home invasion. But before that happened, Vanmatre, assisted by an unnamed sixteen-year-old, attacked Jellis with a machete in a heavily wooded area.

According to Fox31, the three were hiking when Vanmatre said, "This seems like the perfect spot" — and then tried tasing Jellis using a stun gun.

Next, Vanmatre allegedly struck Jellis in the head and the hand using an eighteen-inch sword.

In the process, Jellis suffered facial fractures and nearly had his left thumb cut off — and his injuries might have been even worse if he hadn't defended himself with assistance from another knife of Vanmatre's that he'd grabbed earlier.

Here's a look at the weapons in question.

In an interview with authorities, Vanmatre maintained that he and his helper were only planning on scaring Jellis with the swords.

But these claims were undercut, as it were, by testimony from a longtime friend who said Vanmatre had previously talked about the advantages of killing someone in the woods, where the body would never be found.

In September 2015, Vanmatre was found guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, felony menacing and reckless endangerment.

This month, he was sentenced to life in prison, plus an additional 112 years.

Look below to see Vanmatre's booking photo.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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