A Jefferson County judge on Monday sentenced a 60-year-old man to life in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in Conifer last year.
A jury on Friday found Wayne Richard Lotz guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation following a five-day trial, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release Monday.
On Feb. 15, 2022, authorities found Michele Scott, 55, dead in a ravine in the Conifer area. Neighbors had called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office with concerns that they hadn’t seen her in a few days.
Deputies found smeared blood on a truck parked in her driveway, in the garage and in the home, according to the release.
Authorities, before locating her body, found Lotz driving her car. He told police that Scott was on vacation and that he had permission to use her vehicle and credit card while he cared for her animals, prosecutors said.
Deputies eventually found a rug and moving blanket in the area of Pleasant Park and South Ridges roads. A half-mile down the road, authorities located Scott’s body under a pile of stacked rocks, prosecutors said.
She was found with a brown leather leash looped around her neck, and her wrists were bound with braided rope. Lotz’s DNA was found on the leash, the DA’s office said.
Prosecutors say Scott had previously reported domestic violence incidents and protection order violations against Lotz. On Feb. 1, less than two weeks before her murder, Lotz pleaded guilty to attempted violation of a civil protection order, authorities said.
“Domestic violence is a horrible thing, and many people are afraid to speak out,” an unnamed friend of Scott’s said, according to the news release. “I thank you for taking this man off the streets and knowing he will never be able to harm another woman or family like this again. Thank you for justice.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes said the “heartbreaking loss of Michele serves as a solemn reminder of the dangers lurking within our community and the reality that domestic violence can happen to anyone.”
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