KUSA - Prosecutors are mulling charges against 28-year-old Ryan Stone, the suspect in a wild car chase across Northern Colorado on Wednesday, the most serious of which could put Stone behind bars for the rest of his natural life.
Among the crimes Stone can expect to be charged with are carjacking for allegedly stealing three cars, one of which had a 4-year-old child inside.
He's also accused of striking a state trooper with one of those cars, inflicting serious bodily injury.
The trooper required surgery, but is expected to survive. Prosecutors are contemplating charges as serious as attempted murder of a peace officer for that part of the chase.
That's a felony that ordinarily carries a sentence of 16-48 years. However, according to sources familiar with the case, Stone has five prior felonies.
"It's basically a life sentence with the kinds of charges we're talking about here," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.
That's because having three or more prior felony convictions gives prosecutors the option of charging a defendant as a "habitual offender" under Colorado law, a distinction that assigns a sentence of four times the maximum ordinary sentence, if there is a conviction.
A conviction on that most serious charge of attempted murder would net 192 years of prison time.
With that enhanced penalty, two other charging options for allegedly striking the trooper could be first degree assault on a peace officer with a possible 128 years (normally 10-32 years,) or second degree assault on a peace officer with a 64-year sentence (normally 5-16.)
Of course, at this early stage we are far from a conviction. Stone, who is presumed innocent under the law until proven otherwise, is still awaiting his first appearance in court.
That's a process that comes with its own complicated decisions for district attorneys to make.
Since the car chase started and ended in different jurisdictions, prosecutors will need to decide which court they plan to bring the case to first.
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