Tom Cramer, community representative
Jo Ann Baxter, community representative
Noelle Leavitt Riley, newspaper representative
Renee Campbell, newspaper representative
Amy Fontenot, newspaper representative
On Tuesday, Leroy Fief, 49, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the stabbing death of Shane Arredondo — a tragic murder that happened in Craig last December.
The weeklong murder trial took place in September, and the jury found Fief guilty of second-degree murder and menacing with a deadly weapon. He originally was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury lessened the charge.
Fief stabbed Arredondo the night of Dec. 8, 2012, in the parking lot of Mathers’ Bar after he suspected his wife of having an affair with Arredondo.
The Craig Daily Press wrote a story about the sentencing this week. The judge made several points before he gave Fief 30 years.
“I, frankly, am shocked that there are some in the community who believe — who expressed to us — that they could understand how and why this happened, and they would do the same. That is extremely dangerous thinking,” Judge Michael O’Hara said.
It is a dangerous way of thinking. To feel that it’s OK to murder someone because of adultery is treacherous. Violence is not the way to handle anything. Therefore, we think that our society has a heart problem, meaning many people have hurting or bad hearts.
Fief obviously was struggling with a variety of emotions, including depression, anxiety and anger as it pertained to his wife’s relationship to Arredondo. Does that give him the right to kill someone? No, absolutely not.
We wonder, though, if he might have handled the situation differently if he had taken time, or if someone advised him, to see a mental health professional. Adultery is no doubt a difficult situation to deal with, but violence is not the answer. That’s why therapists and mental health facilities exist.
Nothing will help Fief now, but we hope that if there are people in Moffat County struggling and/or coping with strenuous situations that they reach out — or their friends suggest they reach out — to someone who can help.
For instance, Mind Springs Health is a wonderful resource for those in need. Mental health professionals can be reached at 970-824-6541. Additionally, Yampa Valley Psychotherapists is another great resource at 970-824-2557.
Obviously, Fief is responsible for his actions. We all are. Yet we don’t want to see this kind of unacceptable behavior continue in our small town of Craig. We’re somewhat isolated from the rest of the state. Let’s look out for one another.