DENVER — Several people who pleaded guilty to their part in a series of deadly crimes in the Denver metro area were sentenced Wednesday afternoon.
The five convicted suspects – Samuel Robert Fussell, 20, Isaiah Freeman, 20, Noah Loepp-Hall, 21, Seth LaRhode, 22 and Aden Sides, 20 – previously pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
Here are the charges against each person:
- Loepp-Hall: second degree murder, first degree kidnapping
- Sides: first-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing grievous bodily harm, kidnapping
- Fussell: first-degree assault involving multiple victims, first-degree burglary
- Freeman: first-degree assault with multiple victims, aggravated robbery
- LaRhode: second degree burglary, theft
Loepp-Hall was sentenced to a scheduled prison term of 65 years – 48 years for the murder charge and 17 for the kidnapping charge. Sides received an expected prison sentence of 41.5 years for the two counts against him, which will be served concurrently. Freeman, who was convicted in three different cases, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the August 2021 crime spree. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in two other cases and will serve those sentences in same time as the original case.
Judge A. Bruce Jones said he agreed with the stipulated sentence of 21.5 years for Fussell, but deferred entry for reasons he discussed privately with the bench attorney. He will be officially sentenced on June 30. Additionally, LaRhode’s sentencing was pursued before the hearing began. He will be sentenced on July 21.
Several defendants in a series of deadly crimes in the Denver area are sentenced to prison
“Each of you contributed to an ugly outcome for many people – ultimately an awful outcome for yourself,” Judge Jones said during one of the sentencing.
The crime spree began Aug. 15, 2021, and then continued through the evening of Aug. 17 until the early hours of Aug. 18, Denver Assistant District Attorney Kate Horton said.
The events of August 15 began with aggravated robberies, the robbery of a restaurant, the carjacking and the assault of a passing man who was sitting in his car where he lived.
At around 3:40 a.m. that morning, Loepp-Hall, Fussell, Freeman and LaRhode — Sides was not present for the Aug. 15, 2021, crimes, Horton said — assaulted a man as they searched for a residence to rob . Freeman was the person charged with punching the victim.
The group then drove to an apartment complex, where they found a woman and demanded her purse at gunpoint around 4 a.m., Horton said. She gave them her purse because she was afraid of being hurt or killed. Horton said that although this victim was not in the courtroom, she was deeply affected by the crime and had to quit her job for fear of being robbed again. She is now looking for work out of state and country.
The group then robbed a restaurant and stole mostly liquor bottles.
At around 4:19 a.m., the four defendants assaulted a passing man who was living in his car outside a fitness center. They demanded his car keys at gunpoint and when he handed them over, Loepp-Hall shot the man in the chest. The man was able to get away and Loepp-Hall continued to shoot him, hitting his hand, Horton said.
The second set of incidents began around 10 p.m. on August 17, 2021. The group of five defendants robbed an auto shop, hijacked a victim, and robbed another auto shop.
Next, police responded to a shooting at 11:10 p.m. along the 1500 block of N. Lafayette near Cheesman Park. One of the suspects fired a bullet and an injured person, later identified as Thomas Young, then 30, was taken to hospital. Some of his things were stolen, but in the hospital he told Denver7 his main concern was whether he could ever walk again.
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Young later told investigators that the suspects were very aggressive and were shooting at his pickets in an attempt to find his property. He was beaten, thrown to the ground and hit on the head. As the group left him, Loepp-Hall shot him in the back.
This permanently crippled Young.
Minutes after that shooting, at 11:35 p.m., Denver police tweeted that they were investigating a shooting along the 1500 block of Stuart Street near Yeshiva Toras Chaim, a Jewish boarding school for boys.
Horton said it’s common for students to wake up late at night and wander the halls listening to lessons or music. When the defendants stopped at the school, that’s what 18-year-old Shmuel Silverberg was doing. When the victim saw the defendants coming towards him, he ran to the door and entered a code to enter. Police determined Loepp-Hall fired 13 times and Sides fired seven times, Horton said.
Silverberg was shot near the cafeteria doors, where the students were awake and walking around. The suspects also shot a rabbi, who hid behind a door and was unharmed, Horton said.
Freeman and Fussell dragged Silverberg and assaulted him. The prosecution said they wanted to get the code to enter the building, believing it was an office building and not a school.
Horton said the aftermath of the shooting was difficult to explain. She said the end of a surveillance video of the shooting shows other students and teenage friends of Silverberg performing CPR and trying to save her life.
Silverberg died of his injuries.
Defendant LaRhode did not leave the stolen car during this shooting.
Horton said the five defendants attempted to steal other cars and appeared to show no remorse over the homicide.
Two days later, Denver police announced they had located and arrested four of the five suspects, excluding Fussell. A reward of up to $27,000 was offered for information leading to his arrest. He was arrested about a week later.
All five pleaded guilty to the charges against them. They were sentenced together on Wednesday afternoon.
Several victims spoke in court or wrote statements for the prosecution. One of the people who was attacked and shot in the chest and, as he fled, his hand, said he was lucky he was not dead. He spent nine days in the hospital and had large hospital bills. He has scars that he has to look at every day.
He said he would not wish his pain on anyone else, adding that he now lives in fear.
Another victim recalled dropping off his now-deceased ex-wife from cancer treatment and returning to his car to find the suspects around his car. He said she blamed herself for being hurt by the defendants.
The victim said he also grew up in an environment where drugs and gangs were common, like many defendants. But he said they could have left that path.
“Not everyone who grew up in these environments grew up to be animals like these,” he said.
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