Steamboat murder case moves forward in courts

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) A judge has ruled there is enough evidence to proceed with the criminal case against a man accused of stabbing a Steamboat Springs woman to death in May.

Routt County Judge James Garrecht ruled Monday there is enough evidence for Thomas Lee Johnson to be tried for first-degree murder in the death of Lori Bases, 31. A second charge of felony murder was dismissed.

The case was bound over to the 14th Judicial District Court in Steamboat Springs and Johnson's first appearance was set for Jan. 16.

Johnson, 30, was arrested in June after allegedly admitting to his former wife that he killed Bases.

Bases was a close friend of Kim Goodwin, who married Johnson in June but is now seeking an annulment. Authorities have speculated that Johnson killed Bases because he thought she was interfering in his relationship with Goodwin.

Prosecutors were unable to prove Monday there was enough evidence to support a charge of felony murder, which occurs when someone is killed during the commission of another crime.

Prosecutors sought the charge because Johnson allegedly took steps to cover up by the slaying by making it look like a sexual assault.

Johnson claims he was in Pueblo, Colo.,12/5/0 6:17 PM Inches: 7.0 REGULAR BC-CO-ChristmasTree 12-05 0294

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Colorado Christmas tree arrives in Washington

By The Associated Press

Dressed in black Wranglers and honking ''Jingle Bells'' from the horn of a Mack truck, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell rolled into Washington to deliver a 65-foot Christmas tree from Pike National Forest in Colorado.

''Colorado's Gift to the Nation'' was promptly hoisted with a crane and planted Monday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, where it will stand until Jan. 2.

''It is truly Washington's most beautiful Christmas tree,'' said Capitol Landscape Architect Matthew Evans, taking a jab at the better-known National Christmas Tree, the tree the president and first lady light each year.

The tree, the 37th Christmas tree to grace the Capitol, has been dubbed the Millennium Tree.

''It's not the White House tree,'' said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver. ''It's the people's tree.''

Some 10,000 lights and 4,000 ornaments, most made by Colorado schoolchildren, will decorate it by the time a lighting ceremony is held Dec. 13.

A seven-truck convoy delivered the shrink-wrapped tree on a path roughly mirroring the old Santa Fe trail.

Campbell, R-Colo., drove as much as six hours a day on the nine-day trip, while Jim Fike, a driver for Mack, handled the rest. Campbell drove a truck to put himself through college and recently renewed his commercial license.

''It's kind of like going home to my working-man roots,'' Campbell said.

Mack donated the use of three trucks for the convoy.

The tree will be recycled into mulch for the Capitol grounds.

Next year's tree will come from Michigan, and Campbell said he told his new driver friend he wants to help haul it.

''I told him to give me a call,'' Campbell said.

at the time of the murder.

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