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Scott Chilleen’s sentencing pushed back after defense requests evidentiary hearing

Scott Chilleen’s sentencing date was changed to May 30 after his defense’s request for an evidentiary hearing.
Chilleen was set to be sentenced Monday for 2021 crash

After a jury trial in January that found him guilty of vehicular homicide in the 22nd Judicial District, Mancos resident Scott Edouard Chilleen’s defense requested an evidentiary hearing, pushing the sentencing to early summer.

Though Chilleen’s March 18 court date was originally set for sentencing, the hearing was changed to a status conference after his defense requested the chance to present more evidence regarding victim Houston Davis’ DNA being found on the steering wheel of Chilleen’s truck the night of the fatal crash that killed Mary Murphy, 58, of Phoenix.

Beale Tejada, Chilleen’s attorney, told Chief Judge Todd Plewe that he would be providing more evidence regarding Davis’ DNA via a man from the University of Denver who said he would testify. Tejada’s motion cited “newly discovered evidence” that District Attorney Christian Hatfield said was “DNA touch evidence.”

Hatfield shared that Davis’ DNA was found on the steering wheel because he periodically drove the vehicle, as he worked with Chilleen.

“Regardless of whether it was the day before or two days before, our expert (from CBI) will say residual DNA can be left on things for more than a day,” Hatfield said.

“There’s almost zero evidence that he (Davis) was driving, suffered the head injury and was found approximately one minute later in a pool of his own blood by the officer who just happened to be there,” Hatfield continued.

The 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office will keep their original expert, who is from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and presented evidence during the jury trial.

Despite the setback in sentencing, Hatfield told The Journal that he didn’t anticipate a change in outcome.

"I’m pretty sure this will not change the outcome in any way,“ Hatfield said. ”The victims, Mary’s friends and family, are really looking forward to getting to the sentencing part. I think this is a little blip on the way there.“

The half-day (three-hour) motion for new trial hearing will take place April 29 at 1 p.m.

Plewe also rescheduled Chilleen’s sentencing hearing for Thursday, May 30 at 9 a.m., and Plewe requested that both the DA’s office and Tejada have their expert reports to him by May 25.

Plewe said that he decided to schedule Chilleen’s sentencing date despite Tejada’s motion to “give everyone a date to work toward.”

At the end of January, Chilleen, 63, was found guilty on eight counts for the November 2021 car crash that killed passenger Murphy and injured Davis on Colorado Highway 184 in Dolores.

According to evidence presented during the four-day trial, Chilleen, Murphy and Davis were driving home from an evening out in Dolores when Chilleen, who was allegedly drunk, lost control of his vehicle, causing it to flip at a high rate of speed and eject Murphy from the vehicle and severely injure Davis.

Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene, and Davis, who was 22 years old at the time of the crash, broke his neck.

Reports showed that Chilleen fled the scene of the accident and was found miles away by law enforcement two hours after the accident occurred. He was also found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.13 five hours after the accident.

During the trial, Chilleen’s defense Tejada presented evidence claiming that Chilleen had not been driving the Chevy truck at the time of the accident, and that Davis had been the one driving instead.

District Attorney Hatfield and Assistant District Attorney Jason Eley countered Tejada’s arguments, saying that Davis was found by police in the backseat of the truck in a pool of his own blood.

Despite Tejada’s arguments that Chilleen had been in the backseat at the time of the crash, Hatfield noted that when Chilleen was found by law enforcement, he was wearing a “spotless white shirt” despite the backseat being covered in blood.

After further deliberations, including evidence putting Davis’s DNA on the steering wheel of the truck, the jury found Chilleen guilty on all eight counts.

The charges were vehicular homicide under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, vehicular assault under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence for subsequent offense, and two counts requiring seat belt use for the driver and front-seat passenger.

Chilleen’s motion for new trial hearing will take place on Monday, April 29 at 1 p.m.