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Man who attacked real estate agent during showing sentenced

Ernest Chrisman threatened the woman with a knife and then deployed bear spray.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The man who threatened a real estate agent with a knife and sprayed her with bear spray in an attempt to rob her was sentenced on Friday to 16 years in prison, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Ernest Robert Chrisman pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and was immediately sentenced. He had faced charges of first-degree robbery, aggravated robbery and second-degree assault.

“He chose to prey on a woman holding an open house for her real estate business and threatened her with a knife,” said Senior District Attorney Patrick Freeman.

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“This is going to leave a lasting scar," Freeman said. "She was lucky that she wasn’t hurt worse than she was. This was an incredibly violent and premeditated crime which is reflected in his sentence.”

Dawna Hetzler was at a condominium for an open house at the Aspen Hills Condominiums at 14700 S. 104th Ave. on Aug. 4, 2019, when Chrisman showed up and threatened her with a knife.

> Watch the video above to hear how Hetzler fought back

She was preparing for the open house when Chrisman walked in and asked to see the home. While showing him the second floor and master bedroom, Chrisman cornered her and pulled out a knife.

He ordered her to take off her ring and get in the closet. Hetzler, who has a concealed carry permit, retrieved her firearm from an ankle holster, and Chrisman sprayed her with bear spray.

Credit: Commerce City Police Department
Ernest Robert Chrisman, 43

“My life was in danger, and if I did not have my firearm, I would not be here to talk to you,” Hetzler told 9NEWS several days after the incident.

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She fired at Chrisman, who fled the condominium, leaving behind his knife and property brochure with his fingerprints on it.

“I couldn’t see,” she said. “My skin was burning, my eyes were on fire, I couldn’t see, so I fired,” Hetzler said last year.

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