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60 years in prison: Man pleads guilty to strangling 77-year-old a day after being released from jail

Brian Murray was sentenced to 60 years for the death of William "Stu" Hoebel, who he killed a day after his release from Boulder County Jail on unrelated charges.

DENVER — A man accused of strangling a 77-year-old man to death in a home near Cheesman Park in November, just one day after being released from custody in Boulder County on unrelated charges, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon.

Brian Murray was sentenced to 60 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of William "Stu" Hoebel, 77.

Denver Police Department (DPD) said officers responded around 5:45 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2021, to a home in the 1100 block of North Vine Street near Cheesman Park and found an unresponsive Hoebel.

Hoebel had a suspected gunshot wound to his head, but he also had a power tool on top of him and the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, according to the arrest affidavit. 

An autopsy showed Hoebel had blunt force injuries but no gunshot injuries, the affidavit says. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner ruled he died from asphyxiation and blunt force injuries.

Credit: DPD

Hoebel's car, cellphone and wallet were all missing, the affidavit says, and video from a neighbor's Nest camera showed the victim's car leaving the home.

Video from an RTD bus showed the vehicle traveling behind it before turning into a business at 2344 E. Colfax St., the affidavit says, and investigators were able to review video from that business.

PREVIOUS: Power tool cord used to strangle Denver man, affidavit says

Investigators also learned that Hoebel's debit card was used at a Walgreen located at 802 16th St. after he was killed, and video from the store showed the suspect withdrawing money from an ATM and buying gift cards and cigarettes, according to the affidavit.

After releasing a bulletin using images taken from one of the videos, investigators received a call from a member of the Safe Streets Taskforce who said they recognized the person as Murray, who had active felony warrants, the documents says.

Credit: Louisville PD
Brian Murray

Murray was previously arrested by the Louisville Police Department (LPD) on Nov. 16, 2021, and was released from custody on a personal recognizance the following day.

Murray was taken into custody following an incident around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2021, when he called Boulder County Communications (BCC) and would not state a reason for calling, according to LPD.

When asked why he was calling Murray responded "you'll find out," LPD said. He called again at 6:09 p.m. and gave an alias name while saying he had served many years in prison and wanted police to shoot him, LPD said.

Murray then reported that he had a gun and would be dead that night at either officer's hands or his own, according to LPD.

Officers eventually located Murray at a Quality Inn Hotel in Louisville and arrested him without incident on Nov. 16, 2021, and booked him into Boulder County Jail on the following charges, LPD said:

  • Attempting to influence a public servant
  • Obstructing government operations

Murray was released the next day and failed to appear for a court hearing on Nov. 19, 2021, according to court records.

The Boulder District Attorney's Office did not want Murray released, according to information obtained by 9NEWS. The DA's office said they requested for a higher bond to be set than was granted.

Janet Oravetz contributed to the reporting of this story.

RELATED: Man accused in homicide day after release from custody, court records show

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