A former Colorado deputy who was supervising remotely on the night 22-year-old motorist Christian Glass was shot and killed by Clear Creek County officers has pleaded guilty to lesser charges of failing to report and intervene and will serve a two-year probationary sentence with no jail time, a judge ruled Thursday.
Kyle Gould pleaded to the misdemeanors after originally being charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. The solidly built, bald and bearded 37-year-old entered his plea as Mr Glass’s bereft parents sat stoically in the courtroom, the plea conditions also requiring that he never again serve in law enforcement or security.
Judge Catherine Cheroutes called Mr Glass’s killing “incredibly tragic, but more than that – unnecessary.”
The 22-year-old was fatally shot while sitting in his car after calling 911 for help on June 10, 2022 when his vehicle became stuck amidst rocks on a dark stretch of road. Responding officers spoke with Mr Glass for more than an hour as he suffered an apparent mental health crisis – but the situation escalated after Gould, supervising from home, authorized the breach of his vehicle. Still sitting in the driver’s seat, Mr Glass was tased and began thrashing around, seemingly grabbing a small geology implement before then-deputy Andy Buen fired the fatal shots.
Buen is also charged in the killing and is scheduled to appear in court again next month.
“If Mr Gould had just said, ‘Hey, wait, sit in your car ... Mr Glass isn’t going anywhere,’ we wouldn’t be here,” Judge Cheroutes told the court on Thursday. She said she hoped the maximum fine of $1,000 and two-year probationary sentence “deters and teaches law enforcement about what the consequences are of their actions.”
Sally and Simon Glass were given the opportunity to speak during proceedings, both wearing pink in honor of Christian’s favorite color. Their son’s “brutal torture and murder has destroyed our family,” said Mr Glass, his wife stating that Gould “did authorize the attack of our son, and he was attacked – his window was smashed and they went for him.”
She said she hoped that Gould “now, throughout his life, will think about being kinder and more compassionate.”
The Glass family has repeatedly called for charges to be brought against other officers present at the scene when their son was killed. Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers announced his retirement over the summer, just months after the Glasses received a historic $19m settlement and negotiated for more law enforcement crisis training.
Gould and his lawyer left the Clear Creek County courthouse out of sight of reporters, while Sally and Simon Glass presented a united front, determined that some change be implemented following the unnecessary murder of their son.
“It’s been, I think, 17 months now that we’ve been waiting for justice; today was the first admission of guilt by anybody,” Mr Glass said. “Even that took a long time.”
His wife said she was “working on sort of forgiveness and kindness and compassion, and there’s no point being vindictive, because you can stick Mr Gould in jail, but honestly, it’s not going to bring Christian back.”
She and her family, she said, are “doing this because it is so important that it never, ever happens again to another family.
“That’s all we can do.”