AURORA, Colo. — A jury found an Aurora man guilty of strangling and killing his 23-year-old fiancée in January 2017 and could face life in prison.
An Arapahoe County District Court jury deliberated for four hours before they found Sterling Dwayne Austin, 58, guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation on April 11. He was accused of killing his fiancée, Aurora Coleman.
On Jan. 7, 2017, Austin called 911 and said Coleman needed medical assistance. First responders found the woman dead in his car. He told police he thought she had taken drugs and passed out, and he was too afraid to call for help earlier because he did not want to get her in trouble, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
Twelve hours before Austin had called 911, police had received a call from a witness who said a man was punching and choking a woman in a car that matched Austin’s vehicle. The witness said the man drove away before police arrived at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.
The coroner’s office determined that Coleman had been strangled, which led to murder charges against Austin.
“All murders are acts of lawlessness and evil, but there is something particularly torturous about strangling a person to death, feeling them struggle to live and watching the life drain from their faces at less than arms-length for up to five minutes. Five minutes,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “This is why we build prisons. Our office had eight murder trials in 2018. This is the 15th murder trial in our courts this year already.”
Austin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 6.