Standoff suspect faces multiple charges

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A Craig man who police say ran from them after a traffic stop last month and was later arrested after a four-hour standoff, will face eight charges when he goes to trial this month.

At a preliminary hearing in Moffat County Court on Tuesday, Judge Mary Lynne James charged Shaun Phillip Sanchez, 26, with aggravated motor vehicle theft, robbery and three counts of forgery, among other charges.

Police arrested Sanchez at his home on Legion Street on Dec. 5 after a four-hour standoff.

At Tuesday's hearing, witnesses, including Sanchez's ex-girlfriend, testified that Sanchez assaulted her and stole her car Dec. 1.

Moffat County Sheriff's Deputy Todd Wheeler testified that when he found the car a few days later, there was counterfeit money and methamphetamine paraphernalia in the car.

Wheeler said when he pulled the vehicle over on Dec. 2 on U.S. Highway 40, the driver and passenger ran away. The passenger was found at a nearby gas station but the driver, who was later identified as Sanchez, wasn't found until two days later.

Sanchez appeared in the court with his hands shackled and wearing a black and white striped Moffat County Jail smock.

Sheryl Uhlmann, the public defender representing Sanchez, argued that there wasn't sufficient evidence to charge Sanchez with forgery or possession of paraphernalia.

Officers never saw Sanchez in the car and did not find fingerprints on the counterfeit $100 bills or the paraphernalia, according to testimony.

At the preliminary hearing, Judge James said that although the charges would be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial, there was sufficient evidence to charge Sanchez with the crimes.

James did, however, lower a criminal mischief charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

That charge stems from the ex-girlfriend's testimony that Sanchez threw a beer bottle at her car after he assaulted her, took the keys out of the ignition and ran from the vehicle.

The girlfriend testified that the bottle hit the rear of her vehicle, which already was damaged from a previous accident.

Judge James ruled that the prosecution didn't present enough evidence to show that the damage from the thrown bottle was extensive enough to be a felony.

Sanchez also is one of 14 people charged in a separate case involving distribution of meth.


Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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