In the final week of August 2003, the Independent reported on a milestone in the surreal story of a local triple murder.
From "Sue sentenced," News:
Former Palmer High School student Simon Ewing Sue, 21, was sentenced on Tuesday to three 45-year terms to be served concurrently, for conspiracy to commit murder in the triple slaying that took the lives of Tony Dutcher, 15, Carl Dutcher, 60, and Joanna Dutcher, 58, on Dec. 31, 1999.
Sue was also sentenced to a consecutive term of eight years for violating Colorado's organized crime laws.
Sue was arrested in April 2001, after being named by co-defendant Isaac Grimes, also a former Palmer student, as the mastermind of the murders that took place in the rural community of Guffey, an hour west of Colorado Springs. The boys, along with Palmer students Jonathan Matheny and Glen Urban, were members of a paramilitary organization called the OARA (Operations and Reconnaissance Agents), a group Sue now admits he made up.
"It was a scheme I made up to get money out of these guys," said Sue in a pre-sentencing interview with prosecutors and investigators from the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
As OARA members, Grimes, Matheny and Sue participated in burglaries in Colorado Springs, stealing guns from the home of former friend Gabe Melchior; planned and executed the "raid" on the Dutchers; and were reportedly deeply involved in quasi-military training with automatic weapons.
Sue's alleged purpose for securing weapons was to send them to revolutionary forces in Guyana, his family's home country — a scheme now apparently debunked.
The scene in the courtroom was emotionally charged as Charles Dutcher, father of Tony and son of Joanna and Carl, offered his assessment of the defendant.
"This kid is nothin' more than a Jim Jones, a Charlie Manson," said Dutcher. "Y'all better never let this kid out of prison."
But the tone shifted as defense attorney Ann Kaufman questioned a string of family members, mentors and friends of Simon Sue, each attesting to the young man's engaging personality, strong work ethic, loving personality and community mindedness. ...
Judge Kenneth Plotz expressed deep sadness before handing down the 53-year sentence.
"No reasonable explanation has been provided from anyone to explain what happened," said Plotz. "What went on in your mind to allow this to happen, much less to engineer it? What cause was advanced? Why? What did you get out of this?"
And local rapper Black Pegasus talked about a recent run of success in emcee battles, including a second-place finish at the nationally known Scribble Jam.
From "Ready to rumble":
Indy: Do you prepare for battles?
BP: Every battle MC has a couple of lines in their mind ready to drop on someone. But when you create a rhyme in the moment about what's going on around you — [the other MC's] appearance or what he said — that's what gets the crowd going. To prepare for your battles you just have to freestyle a lot — like when you're watching TV or driving down the street — just to get your mind thinking faster than the average person. That's what I do to get ready for a battle. ...
Indy: So give us some examples of rhymes from some of the battles.
BP: All right: "It's over wit / he so skinny he could use ChapStick for deodorant." And: "He ugly as hell you can see um / His mom had to be drunk to breastfeed um." Then there's "I'm Black and Mexican so you know I'm hard / The Black will whoop ya ass, the Mexican steal ya car."
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