Colorado carjacker pleads guilty to crime spree caught on live TV

Reuters News
|
Posted: Mar 24, 2015 8:36 PM

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A felon whose two-hour carjacking and armed crime spree in Colorado last year played out on live television filmed from a news helicopter pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 46 charges stemming from the rampage, prosecutors said.

Christopher David Sullivan, 37, admitted to multiple counts of aggravated robbery, menacing with a deadly weapon and first-degree assault, among other charges, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

He also pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor because his alleged accomplice was a 17-year-old girl, it said. The teenager has also been charged and her case is pending in juvenile court.

The incident began last July when a deputy pulled over Sullivan for a traffic violation near Lookout Mountain, about 12 miles west of Denver, but he sped away when other officers arrived at the scene, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

As police gave chase, the pair abandoned the first car and commandeered a second vehicle at gunpoint.

In footage captured shortly afterward by a TV news helicopter, Sullivan and the girl are seen walking through a wooded area as he carries an assault rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other.

The pair split up, and Sullivan is seen trying to steal trucks from local businesses. He ultimately breaks into an occupied home, where he steals a sport utility vehicle and is seen crashing it through the garage doors as he fled. 

He later drives it into a ditch and is seen waving a rifle as he unsuccessfully tried to carjack vehicles on a highway. He eventually dropped the gun and was tackled by a lone motorcycle officer and taken into custody. The 17-year-old girl was arrested elsewhere on the mountainside.

Police said at the time that she and Sullivan stole three vehicles, burglarized two homes, "menaced 12 innocent bystanders and left at least six separate crime scenes in their wake."

Sullivan also told investigators he had been prepared to shoot officers with a handgun had they tried to force him out of the car when he was first stopped, the affidavit said.

Seven of the counts to which Sullivan pleaded guilty are so-called "sentence enhancer" crimes, authorities said, including being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon, and other crimes of violence.

He faces between 70 and 85 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)