BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – Authorities arrested a 24-year-old Lakewood man Tuesday on first-degree murder charges, among others, in the deaths of three people found killed in a home in Coal Creek Canyon in mid-April.
Garrett Matthew Coughlin, 24, was arrested by Boulder County sheriff’s investigators after an interview at the Lakewood Police Department Tuesday afternoon.
He faces three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of first-degree murder during the commission of a robbery, and one count of aggravated robbery.
The three people killed at the home were identified as 54-year-old Wallace White and 56-year-old Kelly Sloat-White, both of Golden, and 39-year-old Emory Fraker, of Broomfield.
An arrest report released Tuesday by the sheriff’s office details the great lengths Coughlin allegedly went to in order to try and hide his alleged involvement.
It says he allegedly killed the three, whom he was familiar with, on the morning of April 13. The report says that Coughlin called in late to work that day by about four hours, and had also told his girlfriend she may not be able to reach him that morning.
Though the report does not make clear why, Coughlin allegedly shot the three to death and stole multiple bundles of marijuana from the home.
But the White family was supposed to pick up another family member at the airport in Denver later that day, and when they never arrived, the family member grew concerned and notified police, who eventually found the three dead on April 15.
But investigators were able to trace some of the family’s phone records back to Coughlin.
The report says that the investigators learned that Coughlin had left the state after taking multiple guns from his mother’s house. He allegedly “traveled to many different states,” according to the police report, then went to a cousin’s house.
There, according to the report, Coughlin dumped the alleged murder weapon.
But according to investigators, he had texted pictures of several marijuana bundles to his cousin, and witnesses had seen Coughlin with “large quantities of marijuana packaged consistent with the victim’s, and cash” just two days after the murders occurred.
They also went to Coughlin’s cousin’s house, where the cousin told investigators about the pictures, and also provided them with the gun that Coughlin had allegedly dumped.
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office investigators made plans to interview Coughlin on May 11, but Coughlin allegedly lied to the detective about having car trouble and never showed.
But the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was able to perform forensic ballistic comparisons by using the recovered gun and a slug recovered from one of the victims, and determined that the bullet that killed that victim was fired form the same gun.
On Tuesday, Coughlin met with investigators at the Lakewood Police Department. After some discussion, detectives informed him that the ballistics tests matched his weapon to the scene, after which he requested a lawyer and was arrested.
Coughlin is first due in court Wednesday, though the site and time have still not been determined. His criminal history in Colorado includes only a handful of traffic infractions.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation into the murders remains ongoing, and asks anyone with information to call its tip line at 303-441-3674 or submit an email.
Anyone wanting to remain anonymous can contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.