CENTENNIAL, Colo. - An Englewood woman who claims she beat a man to death with a baseball bat because he molested a girl was formally charged Friday morning with first-degree murder after deliberation and assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury.
Forsythia Owen, 30, was also charged with two sentence-enhancement counts, violent crime causing death and violent crime where a weapon was used, during the hearing in Arapahoe County court.
Owen, who was clad in a red jail uniform and shackled at the waist, sat in the jury box and didn't speak in court. Three attorneys tried to surrounded Owen constantly, in an attempt to block news photographers' views of the defendant.
A judge set her preliminary hearing for Dec. 12.
Owen has a history of drug abuse, mental illness and violence, including stabbing a boyfriend in the chest after drugging him when she was 19 years old, court records state.
She is accused of using the bad to bludgeon death Denzel Rainey, 42, who was found bleeding in an Englewood alley early Sunday morning. Rainey later died at a hospital from blunt force trauma, including a skull fracture, a lacerated liver and fractures to his arms, six ribs and left hand.
"It didn't look like my husband because his head was so beaten," Rainey's estranged wife, Lisa Rainey, told 7NEWS.
According to an affidavit obtained by 7NEWS, Owen confessed to Englewood police officers during a recorded interview. She told the officers that a child, whose name is redacted from the document, said Rainey "had touched and sexually abused her."
Police asked Owen if she was responsible for Rainey's death.
"Owen stood up and said she killed him," the affidavit says. "Owen swung her hands back and forth and demonstrated how she struck Rainey over and over again because of what he did to [name redacted]."
Rainey's only arrests in Colorado were for driving under the influence and minor marijuana possession. This is no record of him ever being arrested or charged for a sex offense or any violent crime.
But Owen is no stranger to violence or trouble with the law.
On Sept. 25, 2002, a then-19-year-old Owen was arrested for stabbing a 30-year-old man she'd been dating for nine months in the chest with a knife at her Denver home, court records show.
"I'm the one who stabbed him, arrest me," Owen told arriving officers, according to a brief initial police report.
An officer wrote the couple had an argument in the living room that escalated when the boyfriend reportedly pushed Owen in the chest. Then the dispute moved to the kitchen, where Owen grabbed a knife and stabbed the man, the report said.
It's unclear whether Owen was the sole source of the initial police report. But she's the only person quoted in the report and no comments are attributed to the boyfriend, who was transported to the hospital.
Clearly, something else occurred, because Owen later pleaded guilty to felony assault that involved "drugging the victim," court records state.
The case file doesn't detail how the drugging occurred.
But the charge states that Owen intentionally administered a drug or other substance to the boyfriend without his consent that was "capable of producing the intended harm."
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped charges of assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury and assault on a peace officer while in custody, according to records.
Owen was initially sentenced to four years of probation in January 2003. But she had her probation revoked 10 months later after she admitted using cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol in violation of her probation conditions, according to court records.
Owen repeatedly broke requirements that she meet with or call probation officers, gave authorities a fake address and skipped drug tests, court records state. She was kicked out of drug treatment and mental health programs because of "non-compliance" and "minimal progress." One program official wrote that she was "continually high" and "disruptive in the program."
At Urban Peak's Project Star treatment program, Owen was diagnosed with a "mood disorder" and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. But "staff had difficulty discerning whether her symptoms were a result of substance abuse or from her mental health issues," according to a probation report that recommended revoking her probation.
Owen was resentenced a Denver community corrections program, but she was later rejected from that program, too.
In December 2004, she was resentenced to three years in state prison.