GREELEY, Colo. -
A 23-year-old Frederick man been sentenced to life in prison without parole in the shooting death of an athletic trainer for the Harlem Globetrotters.
After a nine-day trial, a Weld County jury on Thursday found Draton Philip Mares guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated motor vehicle theft, said Heath Montgomery, spokesman for the Weld County District Attorney's Office.
Mares was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to police and court records, Mares met the victim, Thomas Bashline, in May 2010 through the online classified site Craigslist.
Last fall, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said they two men "had a physical, sexual relationship ... They've known each other since 2010. And there has been some communication through Craigslist and they had ... about 60 some-odd texts between themselves either that day or the days leading up to the homicide.
On Nov. 4, 2011, the two men arranged to meet and Bashline picked up Mares and drove him to Bashline's home on County Road 11 in Weld County.
In the home, Mares convinced Bashline to lie down on his bed for a massage, Montgomery said.
Mares blindfolded Bashline, covered his head with a pillow and shot him in the head using a handgun that Mares had stolen during a prior burglary, Montgomery said.
Mares then stole Bashline’s truck, which was later recovered in Boulder with the murder weapon inside, Montgomery said.
Investigators were able to connect Mares to the crime through the use of DNA, a series of text messages, feathers that were found at the victim's house and stuck on shoes worn by Mares and other evidence, Montgomery said.
"We're satisfied that justice was served in this case," Weld County District Attorney
Ken Buck said.
"Thomas Bashline didn’t deserve to die that day. Now, his killer will spend the rest of his life behind prison walls thanks to the good work of the dedicated investigators and prosecutors in this case," Buck said.
Chief Deputy District Attorneys Matt Maillaro and Christian Schulte prosecuted the case.