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Man with history of domestic violence sentenced to life after killing ex-girlfriend in Jefferson County

Michele Scott.jpg
Posted at 1:32 PM, May 15, 2023

GOLDEN, Colo. — A man with a history of domestic violence was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend in Jefferson County.

On Friday, a jury in Jefferson County found Wayne Richard Lotz, 59, guilty for the killing of his ex-girlfriend, Michele Scott, 55, of Conifer. He was convicted first-degree murder, among other charges, according to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The charges stem from February 2022.

On Feb. 13 of that year, one of Scott's neighbors called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) to report that she had not seen Scott since Feb. 10 and was concerned. The caller added that Scott had plans to watch the Superbowl with another neighbor and didn't show up. She wasn't answering her door or her cell phone, according to the district attorney’s office.

Michele Scott.jpg
Michele Scott

Deputies responded to the home and were unable to contact her, so they left.

The next morning, Feb. 14, Scott's friends forced entry into the home's garage. They still could not find her or her car, so they called the JCSO again, according to the district attorney's office.

Once deputies arrived, they saw what they believed was smeared blood on a truck in the driveway and other places in the home, including the garage. The deputies also found Scott's four dogs. It appeared they hadn't been cared for in days. They also found Scott's cell phone.

That same day, authorities spotted Lotz driving Scott's vehicle. He was taken into custody for questioning, according to the district attorney's office.

Lotz claimed that Scott was on vacation and she had allowed him to use her car and credit card while he cared for her dogs and horses.

He was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County jail on multiple charges, including domestic violence, felony menacing, aggravated motor vehicle theft and criminal possession of a financial transaction device, the district attorney's office said.

Deputies continued to search for Scott. The day after Lotz was questioned, Feb. 15, 2022, deputies found a rug and moving blanket around Pleasant Park Road and South Ridge Road. Investigators also found that based on Lotz's cell records, he was in that same area on Feb. 11.

According to the district attorney's office, authorities searched that area but did not find anything that morning. In the afternoon, about half a mile north of the rug and blanket, they found Scott's body under a pile of rocks. The Inter-Canyon Fire Department was called for the body recovery, since it was found in steep, technical terrain.

Scott had a leather leash looped around her neck, and her wrists, arms and legs were bound with various items, including a horse lead and dog leash. Her autopsy later ruled that she died of strangulation and blunt force injuries, the district attorney's office said.

Lotz's DNA was found on the leather leash.

On Feb. 18, 2022, Lotz was charged with eight counts, including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, menacing, aggravated motor vehicle theft, tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a financial device, and two crime of violence counts.

Looking back on Lotz's history, authorities found that Scott had reported domestic violence incidents and protection order violations going back to 2020. As recently as Feb. 1, 2022, Lotz had pleaded guilty to attempted violation of a civil protection order. About two weeks later, Scott was killed.

On May 12, 2023, more than a year after Lotz was charged in connection with Scott's death, a five-day jury trial concluded for Lotz. The jury deliberated for about three hours before finding Lotz guilty of all charges except menacing, according to the district attorney's office.

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Prosecutors asked the judge to award the maximum possible sentence.

“It is appropriate in this case for this defendant because he is a multi-state, multi-victim, domestic violence offender,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes. “He finished serving out a sentence on a protection order where Michele was the protected party a mere 10 days before he killed her.”

Details on his out-of-state crimes were not immediately available.

On Monday morning, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 16.5 years in the Department of Corrections.

Family and friends said in court that they remember Scott as a dedicated mother, sister and friend. She had a profound impact on the people around her, they said.

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