Steamboat Springs man suspected of manslaughter |

Steamboat Springs man suspected of manslaughter

— A Steamboat Springs resident faces a manslaughter charge related to the death of his girlfriend.

Darin Robert Dickey, 47, was taken into custody Thursday by Steamboat police.

According to an arrest affidavit, an autopsy showed that Sarah Lay, 39, died from a subdermal hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head. The medical examiner said alcohol was likely a contributing factor.

About 10 a.m. July 4, Steamboat firefighters were called to help Lay, who reportedly had a seizure at a residence in the White Haven Trailer Park. She was unresponsive, and paramedics had to resuscitate her.

At Yampa Valley Medical Center, hospital staff learned Lay was “bruised from head to toe” and was bleeding in her brain. Staff said Lay’s brain bleed was caused by trauma to the head.

Lay died at Denver Health Medical Center on July 5.

Police gathered initial information July 4 and spoke to Dickey.

Dickey told police he woke up around 2:30 a.m. and went across the street to his brother, Doug Dickey’s, residence. According to the arrest affidavit, Darin Dickey found Lay in bed passed out with his brother. Darin Dickey denied being upset about this. He told police he never suspected Lay and Doug Dickey had a sexual relationship.

Darin Dickey told police he carried Lay to the living room. He woke up around 6:30 a.m. to find Lay unconscious but thought “she would come around,” according to the affidavit.

On July 5, police and officials with the District Attorney’s Office talked to the Dickey brothers again.

This time, Doug Dickey told police he and Lay had been intimate that night. He said Darin Dickey came in and “yanked” Lay out of bed, and he heard a “thump.”

Police then spoke to Darin Dickey. He again explained how he carried Lay out of bed, but his story was “inconsistent and did not make sense,” the affidavit states.

Darin Dickey changed his story after he was told Lay had died from head trauma.

He said he drank about a pint of vodka before going to his brother’s home. Darin Dickey said Lay hit her head on a piece of furniture when he pulled her off the bed, according to the affidavit.

“Darin said he was concerned for Sarah because of her hitting her head,” the affidavit states.

Darin Dickey appeared in court via video conference Friday. A prosecutor told Judge James Garrecht that Darin Dickey has multiple past convictions, including three DUI convictions and a conviction for third-degree assault.

Manslaughter is a Class 4 felony carrying a presumptive sentencing range of between two and six years in prison. If manslaughter involves domestic violence, the sentence can be longer.

Darin Dickey’s bond was set at $10,000. After the hearing, Darin Dickey got up from a chair at the jail and stumbled toward a door. He tripped on a chair and had to be helped by deputies.

He is due back in court at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family for the irreplaceable loss they have suffered,” Police Chief Cory Christensen said in a news release

Local police are in the process of rolling out a program that will help them assess whether someone is at risk of becoming the victim of intimate partner homicide.

“The Steamboat Springs Police Department is committed to supporting local efforts that focus on identifying victims who are at highest risk for intimate partner homicide and linking them to services, while at the same time implementing better measures to monitor high-risk offenders,” Christensen said. “The ultimate goal is to find ways to prevent this type of homicide.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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