DENVER — Richard Lockett pleaded guilty Tuesday to the murder of his estranged wife, Kirsten Lockett, in 2015.
Immediately after entering his plea, a judge sentenced Lockett to life without the possibility of parole.
The judge did not allow cameras in the courtroom. Richard Lockett told the court during sentencing he entered a guilty plea to spare his family the stress of a trial. His attorneys had previously considered pursuing a mental health defense at trial. During his emotional courtroom testimony, Lockett also apologized to his children for all the hurt he caused, saying he pleaded guilty because it "was the right thing to do."
The morning of her murder, Kirsten Lockett was hiding in a relative's house in Castle Rock. Days earlier, she reported to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department her husband had violently attacked her and kidnapped her. Richard Lockett fled town before the sheriff's department could arrest him.
“This defendant terrorized his wife and family,” said District Attorney George H. Brauchler. “Kirsten Lockett did everything she could to get away and protect herself and her children. He was relentless. Our communities will not tolerate such violence, and this man deserves to spend every moment of the rest of life in prison.”
Kristen Lockett's daughter spoke after at sentencing, directly speaking to her father.
“He took away my mother … he tore our family apart,” testified Kayla Stitely, the oldest of Kirsten Lockett’s five children. “I want him (Richard Lockett) to know he cannot still have her … she, not him, walks away with the last word.”
Last year, Denver7 Investigates revealed a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy resigned during the investigation of the murder. The investigation uncovered the deputy never called to warn Castle Rock police that Kirsten Lockett was hiding out there from her potentially-homicidal husband.
Public records showed the deputy, Curtis Wineski, initially told his supervisors that he did make that warning call, then admitted he did not tell the truth.