CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A Denver man was sentenced to 76 years in state prison Thursday for attempting to murder to his ex-fiancée by shooting her as she drove to work on a winter morning in 2013.
An Arapahoe County jury in June found 29-year-old Christopher Lyle Fields guilty of attempted first-degree murder after deliberation; stalking resulting in emotional distress; harassment and retaliation against a witness or victim.
Fields had broken off the engagement with the victim almost two years before the shooting, according to court records. Yet, soon after the break-up, the woman said Field's launched a terrifying harassment campaign against her.
He slashed her car tiers and scratched the words "Sleaze," "Vain," User" and "Fake" into the vehicle. She reported to police that a nude photograph of her had been posted to a light post at her workplace with her phone number and home address listed. The photo and personal information was also posted at strip clubs, court record state.
He left a her a voicemail message from a number belonging to a medical clinic telling her that she was dying. He used his car to box in her vehicle at her workplace until a security guard came to her aid.
In 2012, he was charged with stalking in Douglas County and forced to wear a GPS ankle bracelet.
None of this stopped Fields from launching an ambush on the morning of Jan. 9, 2013, authorities said.
As the victim was exiting northbound Interstate 25 approaching East County Line Road, Fields walked directly in front of the woman's Ford Escape. He aimed a handgun and fired one round through the victim's windshield.
The bullet fragmented and the woman suffered wounds near her left collarbone, a few inches from major arteries, Michelle Yi, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, wrote in a news release.
"The victim survived despite her life-threatening injury," Yi said.
After the shooting, Fields cut off the GPS monitor and sped off on a motorcycle with $36,500 in cash, a map with directions to Baja, Mexico, and an English-to-Spanish dictionary, Yi said.
Sheriff's investigators from Arapahoe and Douglas counties used Fields' cellphone signal to track him to New Mexico, where local law enforcement officers arrested him.
At Thursday's sentencing, the victim and several family members spoke.
Meanwhile, Fields spoke for over 15 minutes in his own defense, yet never apologized to the victim, Yi said.
"The only thing more unsettling than the facts of this horrible case was the long-winded, self-centered, remorseless statement of the would-be killer at his own sentencing," said District Attorney George Brauchler.
He added that, "In 20 years of appearing in local, state, Federal, and military courts, I have never witnessed any Defendant provide the court with a more pedantic, egocentric, and voluminous statement to justify treating him more harshly. While our office played a significant role in seeing the Defendant convicted for his deliberate and murderous conduct, it took the Defendant to earn his way to a maximum sentence. The right to speak at sentencing is not an obligation to speak. I am proud of the strength the victim showed in seeing this case through to the end."
Deputy District Attorney Victoria Klingensmith, who prosecuted the case, said, "There is no greater justice that can be given to the victim than to know that this defendant will spend the majority of his life in prison, thinking about what he did to get himself behind those prison bars. No one deserves to suffer the terrors that this victim endured and she will be able to live her life without any fear of the defendant for a very long time."
"Despite being subjected to the abuse by the defendant, our victim came in to testify during the trial and speak at the sentencing today," said Deputy District Attorney Sam Evig. "She continues to show everyone that this crime will not define her life nor will it hold her back. Her ability to move on is why the defendant will continue to live the same day over and over in his head, while the victim will be able to see all that life has to offer."