Craig murder suspect appears in Moffat County District Court for advisement |

Craig murder suspect appears in Moffat County District Court for advisement

Joe Moylan

A Craig resident accused of murder appeared Monday in Moffat County District Court for an advisement hearing.

Leroy Fief, 48, of Craig, is charged in district court with one count of first-degree murder, a Class 1 felony. He is in custody at Moffat County Jail and is being held without bond, pending a proof evident hearing scheduled for Dec. 19.

Chief Judge Michael O'Hara presided over Monday's proceedings. He explained to Fief his rights and potential penalties should he plead or be found guilty of the murder charge at trial.

According to Colorado Revised Statutes, the presumptive minimum sentence for a Class 1 felony is life in prison. The presumptive maximum is death.

According to the warrantless arrest affidavit, at approximately 12:20 a.m. Sunday, Craig Police Department officers were dispatched to Elk Head Apartments, 456 Yampa Ave., for an unknown disturbance.

A trooper with the Colorado State Patrol and deputies from the Moffat County Sheriff's Office also responded to the call, the affidavit stated.

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Upon their arrival, authorities encountered Fief and his wife standing in the parking lot between Elk Head Apartments and Mathers' Bar. A third individual, 43-year-old Craig resident Shane Arredondo, was lying on the ground and appeared to be the victim of an assault, according to the affidavit.

Fief approached one of the responding officers and said he stabbed Arredondo, according to the affidavit.

Fief was placed under arrest as law enforcement officers began first aid until EMS technicians arrived. Arredondo was transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig where he was later pronounced dead, according to court records.

Fief and his wife were transported, separately, from the scene to the Moffat County Public Safety Center. During a Sunday morning interview with law enforcement officers, Fief said the alleged altercation stemmed from a Dec. 6 incident in which he observed his wife's cell phone contained a voicemail message and several text messages from an unknown male individual, according to the affidavit.

Fief confronted his wife about the messages. She responded that nothing inappropriate was happening, according to the affidavit.

At about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Fief left home for Trapper Mine where he works as a heavy equipment operator. It was his first rotation back on the night shift. At about 10:30 p.m., after trying to reach his wife by phone several times, Fief told his boss he had to attend to a family emergency at home, according to the affidavit.

About 10 minutes later, Fief arrived at his house to find his wife wasn't home. He said he grabbed a knife from a wooden block in the kitchen and went looking for her, the affidavit stated.

Around 11 p.m., Fief said he located his wife's car in the parking lot on Yampa Ave. between Elk Head Apartments and Mathers' Bar. Fief pulled his truck into the lot and first looked for his wife at Mathers' but was unable to find her. Fief said he returned to his truck and sent his wife several messages from the parking lot during the course of the next hour, according to the affidavit. His wife never responded.

Fief told law enforcement officers he witnessed his wife exit a unit at Elk Head Apartments at about 12:10 or 12:15 a.m. with a then-unidentified male, Shane Arredondo. The two allegedly embraced and kissed outside her driver's side door, according to the affidavit.

Fief exited his truck, reportedly with his knife in hand, to confront Arredondo. During the interview, Fief told officers he thought he stabbed Arredondo four or five times in the ensuing confrontation.

After the incident, Fief said he told his wife to call for help. He was walking from the parking lot toward Yampa Avenue when law enforcement officers arrived, at which point he put his hands up and was taken into custody, according to the affidavit.

After the interview law enforcement officers learned Arredondo was pronounced dead at TMH. They escorted Fief to Moffat County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to the affidavit.

On Monday, O'Hara ordered that Fief not tamper with any witnesses or victims in the case; control or possess a firearm or other weapon; or consume alcohol or other substances.

Fief also is governed by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, O'Hara ordered, and may have consensual contact only with his wife.

Fief is represented by Sheryl Uhlmann, deputy state public defender out of the Steamboat Springs regional office.

Brett Barkey, 14th Judicial District Attorney, is prosecuting Fief.

Although it is customary for felony cases to begin in Moffat County Court, Barkey requested a direct file to district court, which was granted Monday by O'Hara.

Fief is scheduled to return to district court at 8:15 a.m. Dec. 19 for a status conference. A bond hearing may also take place immediately following.

Fief's first preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Jan. 4.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or