High levels of meth found in man who held officers hostage | CraigDailyPress.com

High levels of meth found in man who held officers hostage

Lauren Blair
James Brent Damon, left, and Georgie Hand, right, allegedly took two officers hostage in Moffat County March 9, resulting in the shooting death of Damon. High levels of methamphetamines were found in Damon's blood, according to an autopsy report, offering some explanation for his violent behavior that day.
Courtesy Photo

— An autopsy report revealed that James Brent Damon, the man who briefly held two officers hostage in Moffat County on March 9 before being shot and killed, had high levels of methamphetamines in his blood.

A lab analysis found that Damon had 1,000 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamines and 86 nanograms of amphetamines in his blood.

For reference, the report said that, “Blood levels of 200 to 600 ng/ml have been reported in meth abusers who exhibit violent and irrational behavior.”

Damon was with his wife, Georgie Louise Hand, on March 9 about 10 miles east of the Utah-Colorado border when he and Hand took two unsuspecting officers hostage. The officers were investigating a suspicious vehicle, which belonged to the couple.

Damon and Hand disarmed the two officers, according to court documents, and held them at gunpoint for a short period. Damon appeared to be preparing to execute the officers when one of them, Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager Nathan Martinez, initiated a struggle to retrieve his gun. Martinez was able to get his gun and fired a shot into the back of Damon’s head, the court documents said.

Moffat County Sheriff’s Deputy Bhrent Shock was the other officer involved in the incident.

The autopsy report, provided by Rocky Mountain Forensic Services, confirmed that Damon died by “a close range gunshot wound of the head” and ruled the death a homicide. He had “georgie” tattooed on the back of his neck.

Forensic pathologist Robert Kurtzman, D.O., who signed off on the report, told the Daily Press that while violence and irrational, erratic behavior are commonly linked to meth abuse, it is difficult to determine what influence the drug was having on him at the time of the incident.

“Individuals who are engaged in utilization of methamphetamines and cocaine often times don’t have exemplary behavior without the drugs,” he said.

According to court records, Hand reported that both she and Damon used meth daily in the week leading up to the incident, and that Damon used “two to three times a day if not more.”

Kurtzman confirmed that based on the lab analysis, Damon had used meth within the last 24 hours prior his death. Cannabanoids — indicating marijuana use — were also detected in Damon’s urine, according to the report.

Hand was taken into custody at the Moffat County Jail following the incident and was granted bail March 24, set at $1 million. Her bail hearing will be held at 3:30 p.m. April 7 at the Moffat County Combined Courts.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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