Motive specifics still unclear in Coal Creek Canyon deaths

A 24-year-old Lakewood man is in jail for the murder of three people in Boulder County last month

KUSA - A 24-year-old Lakewood man is in jail for the murder of three people in Boulder County last month.

Garrett Coughlin was booked on three counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of first-degree murder during the commission of a robbery and aggravated robbery

Sheriff’s deputies tried to talk to Coughlin for weeks, but he kept skipping out on interviews until Tuesday night.

It’s been more than a month since Wallace White, his wife Kelly Sloat-White and Wallace’s brother Emory Fraker. were found shot to death at a home in unincorporated Boulder County on April 15.

Along with the victims, deputies found more than 100 marijuana plants leading them to think a possible motive was robbery.

At first glance from his Facebook page, Coughlin looks like an average 24-year-old who enjoys the Colorado outdoors.

“Things are not what they appear to be in many instances," said Commander Mike Wagner with the Boulder Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies became suspicious of Coughlin after people reported he might be involved in the murders. It was a family he knew.

“There was quantities of cash and marijuana that were typically kept in the house that were missing and that was one of the things that Garrett was seen with two days after the murders by several people," Wagner said. 

According to arrest documents, Coughlin wouldn’t return law enforcement phone calls or show up to scheduled interviews.

Deputies found out the 24-year-old took a trip out of state to visit family and left a gun behind.

“[Deputies] contacted a cousin out of state who he had visited and left a weapon with. They recovered that weapon, were able to bring it back, did some comparative ballistic testing through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s forensics lab and were able to determine that that was the weapon used in the murders," Wagner explained.

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After deputies told Coughlin they had the weapon, he stopped talking Tuesday. They arrested him.

“We’re still trying to work through some of the motive specifics. Garrett Coughlin was charged with aggravated robbery and first degree murder in the commission of a felony, in this case was robbery so we believe that’s very much a part of the ‘why’ of this story and the motive. Although we are still working to establish if that’s the sole motive or if there is more pieces and complexity," Wagner said. .

The Boulder Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to fill in the gaps.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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