Man who held officers hostage in Moffat County identified; woman held without bond
March 11, 2015
Craig — Officials have identified the man who took two officers hostage and was later shot and killed in western Moffat County as 46-year-old James Brent Damon.
Damon and 43-year-old Georgie Louise Hand were allegedly approached by two Moffat County officials off of U.S. Highway 40 near the Colorado-Utah border Monday afternoon. The couple was able to disarm the officials and take them hostage for a short period of time.
"A struggle ensued during which the male suspect, James Brent Damon, was fatally shot, and the female, Hand, was taken into custody," a news release from 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey stated.
At Hand's bond hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Moffat County Courthouse in Craig, Barkey described the suspects' intent to kill the officers when the officers were taken away from traffic behind the suspects' vehicle and forced onto their knees.
Hand was booked into Moffat County Jail Tuesday on suspicion of committing two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of disarming a peace officer and two counts of felony menacing.
She appeared at her bond hearing via videoconference from the jail. Dressed in what appeared to be a hospital gown, Hand sat meekly in a wheelchair and said little more than "yes, ma'am" in answer to the Judge Sandra Gardner’s questions.
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Judge Gardner ordered Hand to be held without bond at Moffat County Jail. A combined proof evident hearing and preliminary hearing was set for 9 a.m. April 22.
"We believe she is a danger to society," Barkey said. "She is clearly a flight risk. She has no ties to this community."
The small hearing room was unusually full, and Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume observed 25 individuals in attendance from law enforcement agencies throughout the region.
"You don't ever usually see people show up for these types of hearings," Hume said. "It was humbling. It was really a nice display of brotherhood."
The two suspects were discovered when Moffat County Sheriff's Deputy Bhrent Shock and Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager Nathan Martinez, of Rangely, were investigating a suspicious vehicle parked off of U.S. 40 on a hillside.
Shock and Martinez were both placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which Hume explained is standard procedure following incidents of this nature.
Hand was transported to Rangely District Hospital Monday for complaints not directly related to the shooting and was booked at the Moffat County Jail late Tuesday night.
Damon and Hand are wanted in several states for a variety of charges. The Chaffee County Sheriff's Office in Colorado issued arrest warrants Wednesday for numerous felony charges, according to a news release from the office. The pair is suspected of breaking into numerous vehicles in late January and stealing items such as electronics, ski equipment and credit cards.
The two suspects also are wanted on nationwide extradition warrants out of Mississippi.
Damon was convicted of five charges in Jackson County, Mississippi, within the last 10 years, according to Mary Hall with the Jackson County Circuit Court. Both Damon and Hand were due to appear before a grand jury in connection with a residential burglary case in December 2012.
Additionally, KSL-TV out of Salt Lake City reported Tuesday that a Utah judge issued a $30,000 warrant for Hand's arrest on Feb. 24. She is charged with five counts of unauthorized use of a financial transaction card, one count of burglary and six counts of theft.
"The detective who investigated the case wrote in a sworn affidavit that Hand has an 'extensive history' of similar offenses and has 'active warrants in different states for the same behavior,' Geoff Liesik reported on ksl.com.
The district attorney's office said formal charges against Hand will be filed tomorrow.
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.