Aurit receives 72 years — (The Parker Chronicle)

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The Parker Chronicle

Ann Tracy, Ph.D., Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, confirmed that this man was taking the antidepressant Lexapro at the time of the incident.

A Parker man was sentenced to 72 years in prison after pleading guilty to five felony charges stemming from a crime spree in March 2004.

Todd Aurit, 39, was charged with killing Parker resident Thomas Gigot, 37, after colliding head-on with his vehicle while alluding police. Aurit appeared at a sentencing hearing Aug. 4 to learn his fate from Judge Thomas Curry.Aurit faced between 60 and 80 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for a series of violent actions on March 25, 2004.

He pled not guilty to 22 criminal charges, but later accepted a plea deal. Aurit pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and two counts of vehicular assault. He was sentenced to 32 years for first-degree burglary, 12 years for vehicular homicide-DUI and 16 years for second-degree assault among others. He was also ordered to pay $350,000 in restitution.

Police said Aurit broke down the door to his estranged wife’s apartment, slashed her in the chest with a knife and kidnapped the couple’s 6-year-old and 9-month-old sons.

Darren Vahle, special prosecutor for the 18th Judicial District, said Aurit placed the infant on the 6-year-old’s lap in the passenger seat and used a regular seatbelt to strap them in. Parker police tried to pull over Aurit’s black Ford F-250 pick up truck after it turned northbound onto South Parker Road, but he sped away, running a red light at Mainstreet. Police stopped chasing the vehicle out of fear for public safety.

“This man not only put his own children at risk, but also put every resident of Parker at risk,” Vahle said.

Aurit was travelling northbound at an excessive speed when his truck swerved and crossed the median into oncoming traffic. His truck hit Gigot’s Dodge Ram pick-up head-on, killing him instantly.

Gigot’s truck hit three other vehicles and Aurit’s vehicle rolled up on the hood of a van. Elizabeth residents Patricia Bradley, 63, and Donald Bradley, 67, were injured and taken to the hospital. The children suffered only minor cuts and bruises and Aurit had a broken leg.

“The nature of this crime is appalling. It’s nothing short of miraculous that Evan Aurit is still alive,” Vahle said, referring to the infant. He said Aurit intentionally caused the accident because he knew police would have to stop to check for injuries while he escaped.

Patricia Bradley was unconscious for four months, suffered several broken bones in her extremities and endured two brain surgeries to stop hemorrhaging. Donald Bradley had broken bones in his neck and back and underwent surgery on his shoulder.

“He deserves to be sent to jail for a long time. He has done a lot of terrible things to a lot of people,” Patricia Bradley said. “I would feel much better knowing that he was sorry for the grief that he’s caused to all of the people he’s hurt.”

But Bradley said she does not have any animosity toward Aurit, saying, “I’m just so thankful to be alive.”

Gigot’s family and victims of the incidents were given an opportunity to address the court on what they believe to be an appropriate sentence. Aurit’s family and friends also had a chance to speak at the hearing.

Aurit’s son, AJ, called his dad his best friend. “He’s not a bad man, but he has made some poor choices. I know whatever the consequences may be, he will keep his head up,” AJ Aurit said. “Losing your best friend is not easy.”

Aurit periodically wiped tears from his eyes and his clasped hands shook as he listened to supportive testimony from family and friends.

Dr. Spencer Friedman, a psychologist who evaluated Aurit, said he has a history of “major depressive episodes,” domestic violence and alcohol and drug abuse.

Upon reaching the podium to address Curry, Aurit’s mother, Katherine Aurit-Schafer, turned to the victims and Gigot’s relatives and apologized. She then pleaded with Curry to not take her son away for a long time, saying she needs him.

Following the testimony, Gigot’s father, Tom, decided to speak to the court in response to the testimony by Aurit’s kin.

“I understand that your family is going through a lot of pain, but I will never get to see my son again,” Gigot said. “I can’t even go to Canon City to see him.”

Aurit apologized for his actions and took full responsibility as he read a prepared statement.

“If I could have traded spots with Mr. Gigot, I would,” Aurit said.

Contact Chris Michlewicz at cmichlewicz@ccnewspapers.net

©Colorado Community Newspapers 2007

 

 


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