Judge rules Steamboat Springs man should stand trial for manslaughter
Steamboat Springs — Routt County Judge James Garrecht ruled Wednesday that there was sufficient cause for a Steamboat Springs man to stand trial for manslaughter related to the death of his girlfriend.
Steamboat police and emergency responders were called to help Sarah Lay, 39, at about 10 a.m. July 4. She was resuscitated but later died.
An autopsy determined Lay died from a subdural hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head. The medical examiner said alcohol was likely a contributing factor.
Police later arrested Darin Dickey, Lay’s boyfriend, and he was charged with manslaughter.
During Dickey’s preliminary hearing Wednesday, District Attorney Brett Barkey called Detective Sam Silva and Doug Dickey, Darin Dickey’s brother, to testify.
Silva described interviews that had been conducted with the Dickey brothers.
Silva said Lay came over to Doug Dickey’s house in the White Haven Trailer Park on July 3, and they attempted to have sex but did not finish. They later went to bed.
Silva said Darin Dickey came over between 3 and 4 a.m. and was upset when he found his girlfriend in his brother’s bed.
“He described him as very angry and upset,” Silva said of an interview with Doug Dickey.
Silva said Darin Dickey pulled Lay out of the bed.
“All that he knew is he had heard a thump,” Silva said.
Prosecutors are arguing that Lay hit her head on an armoire when she was yanked off the bed, which caused the life-ending injury.
“The people’s position was that this was an act of domestic violence,” Barkey said.
Doug Dickey testified that he drank a pint of vodka and a couple of beers during the day leading up to the incident. Lay had also been drinking.
He said his brother was upset when he found Lay in his bed.
“He was encouraging her strongly to get up,” Doug Dickey said.
Dickey said he heard a “thump” sound.
“But I didn’t know that she was pulled off the bed,” Doug Dickey said. “I didn’t want to get involved, and I was trying to get back to sleep.”
Doug Dickey could not recall some things he had reportedly said to an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office. Some of his testimony also contradicted what he said to the investigator.
Barkey reminded Doug Dickey that the interviews had been recorded.
“He was asking me all kinds of questions, and he had me shook up,” Doug Dickey said.
The morning of July 4, Doug Dickey said he found Lay on the living room floor. He ultimately decided to call 911.
Garrecht determined the case should go to District Court, where felony trials are held.
“Obviously, this is a tragic event,” Garrecht said. “I don’t think anybody here believed that Mr. Dickey intended to cause Ms. Lay’s death, otherwise we would be seeing different charges here.”
Darin Dickey, who remains in custody, will appear again in court at 10 a.m. Dec. 12.
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