Daily Camera (Boulder)
Co-defendant gets firstdegree murder charge
A Loveland man who is suspected of complicity in the shooting death of a Longmont postal employee has now also been charged with first-degree murder.
Andrew James Ritchie, 34, was charged with firstdegree murder after deliberation Tuesday in Boulder District Court.
Ritchie, who appeared in custody for the hearing, was advised of his rights by Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill.
Because he is charged with a Class 1 felony, Mulvahill advised Ritchie he is not currently eligible for release. Ritchie will next have a proof-evident presumption great hearing to determine if there is probable cause for the case to continue to arraignment and if he can be held without bond.
Ritchie’s attorney Beth Kelley said Ritchie was willing to waive his right to have that hearing within 35 days due to the complexity of the case and to hold his hearing on the same day as the co-defendant in the case, Devan Schreiner, 26.
Schreiner, who is also charged with first-degree murder, was originally scheduled for a hearing on
Jan. 10. But her attorney Jennifer Engelmann appeared virtually Tuesday and agreed to move the hearing to Jan. 13 so attorneys could have a full day to accommodate both defendants.
While they have agreed to a joint preliminary hearing, Kelley told Mulvahill they have not at this time agreed to a joint trial.
First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to an affidavit, Longmont police were called to Sicily Circle at 12:32 p.m. Oct. 13 for a report of shots fired, followed by another call from a resident saying a postal worker had been shot near their mailbox.
When officers arrived at Renaissance Drive and Heatherhill Street, they found Schaefer with multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the face, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Multiple mailboxes were open, indicating that Schaefer had been actively delivering mail at the time.
According to the affidavit, surveillance video in the area captured the sound of five shots and video of a person running southeast
across Heatherhill Street away from the mail truck.
An officer in charge of the Longmont Post Office arrived at the scene of the shooting and told police that it was well-known that there was an ongoing custody dispute between Schaefer and his ex-girlfriend Schreiner.
Police also believe Schreiner was then in a romantic relationship with Ritchie, though Ritchie told police they were just friends.
According to the affidavit, cell phone records show that Ritchie followed Schaefer along his mail route in the hours preceding the shooting. Video surveillance captured a rental vehicle that Ritchie admitted he had access to following the mail truck.
Cell phone records show Ritchie was on the phone with Schreiner throughout much of the morning and that he also made three phone calls to Schreiner following the shooting.
There was also an image on Ritchie's phone taken in Schreiner's bathroom of a person wearing a similar outfit to the suspect fleeing the scene.
Ritchie told police Schreiner had talked about killing Schaefer, and that when he dropped her off for work the day of the shooting, she said “today is the day” and “I have everything I need.”
According to the affidavit, Ritchie told police he followed Schaefer in an attempt to stop something from happening and even briefly spoke to Schaefer about Schreiner.
But when asked why he did not try to talk her down or call police, Ritchie said he believed Schreiner had gotten “over it.”
Police did find a handgun in Ritchie's truck, according to the affidavit.