Azura Lakin: Make My Day law means no charges for killing Shaun Cassidy with bottle

Categories: Colorado Crimes

azura lakin.jpg
Azura Lakin.
Update: Early this month, Azura Lakin, 21, killed her former boyfriend, Shaun Cassidy, 23, with a beer bottle. That fact was never in dispute. But the question of whether Lakin was acting in self-defense was, until a hearing yesterday, when officials decided against filing charges -- a determination that left Cassidy's family fuming.

As we reported, Cassidy, who's from Montrose, and Lakin got into an argument while out and about in Fort Collins, where she lives -- and things didn't calm down upon their arrival at her apartment, in the Gables at Silverplume complex on Swallow Road.

That's where Lakin slashed Cassidy across the throat with a broken beer bottle. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and subsequently died of what the coroner described as "extensive cerebral infarction" related to stabs and cuts to his neck, with "blunt-force injury" on the left side of his head an additional factor.

shaun cassidy.jpg
A family photo of Shaun Cassidy.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Lakin was arrested and jailed. But she was subsequently released from custody while authorities tried to figure out if her actions could be deemed justified under Colorado's Make My Day law, which allows individuals to defend themselves from attacks in their home.

In the end, as the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports, Larimer County Deputy District Attorney Michael Pierson decided against filing charges against Lakin -- and the DA's office version of events explains why.

According to that account, Cassidy was "loud," "intoxicated" and "hostile" while in Lakin's company at an Old Town bar called the Drunken Monkey -- so much so that he heaved a beer bottle across the dance floor when he saw her dancing with someone else. He then smashed Lakin's cell phone, prompting her to borrow someone else's to call her sister, Anna Lakin, for a ride.

Back at their apartment, the Lakins reportedly tried to track down Cassidy; among the places they checked in with via phone was the jail. But shortly thereafter, a taxi dropped him off at the complex. At the apartment, he asked Azura to return his keys and stuff. Still upset about the cell phone breakage, she refused, allegedly prompting Cassidy to push her against the wall and choke her.

The women eventually succeeded at getting Cassidy back outside, the DA's office says, but only after he knocked Azura to the floor. However, he subsequently began banging on the door, prompting Azura to grab a beer bottle. She then opened the door to tell him to leave, but he forced his way inside and came at her -- so she hit him with the bottle, which broke against his head. When that didn't faze him, she jabbed at him with the bottle, causing the blood to flow even as he pushed Azura against a wall. At that point, Anna dialed 911.

These actions fit the statute, in the district attorney's opinion. But Cassidy's family isn't buying it. Colleen Countryman, his aunt, who traveled with other relatives from Montrose to attend the hearing, told CBS4, "She was mad over a broken cell phone. So my nephew is gone because of a cell phone that was broken. It's not right."

Look below to watch CBS4's report, followed by our previous coverage.

broken beer bottle cropped.jpg
Original item, 10:29 a.m. October 11: Back on October 2, Azura Lakin, twenty, allegedly cut Montrose resident Shaun Cassidy (no, not that Shaun Cassidy) in the neck with a beer bottle. Cassidy has now died, but no charges have been filed against Lakin to date. Why not? Authorities are determining whether her actions qualifiy as self-defense.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that Cassidy and Lakin got into a spat while out on the town in Fort Collins back on October 2 -- and the argument continued after they went to her apartment, in the Gables at Silverplume complex on Swallow Road.

Amid these circumstances, Lakin allegedly slashed Cassidy across the throat with a broken beer bottle. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. After he died, an autopsy listed the cause as "extensive cerebral infarction" related to stabs and cuts to the neck. The coroner also listed a "blunt-force injury" on his head's left side.

As for Lakin, she was arrested and jailed after the incident, but released from custody last week. And representatives from various agencies tell the Coloradoan she hasn't been formally accused yet because the incident could fall under the state's Make My Day law, which allows an individual to defend himself or herself at home.

An example of this ruling came in the May 2010 shooting of Marcus Duran by Darrell Kutchin, whose homicide was ultimately found to be justified.

What happens next will determine if Lakin will be exonerated or on the hook in relation to Cassidy's death.

Click here to follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Robert Wallace shooting: Make My Day law meets Gran Torino."


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51 comments
Twiggs.malena
Twiggs.malena

I think this woman who killed Shaun Cassidy should fry in the electric chair I hope she gets the punishment that she deserves Shaun Cassidy was a decent man and a wonderful entertainer he was loved by all his fans including me I've been his biggest #1 fan for as long as I can remember you will live on forever in the lives of all the fans you"ve touched R.I.P Shaun we miss you my heart is sadded by this tragic news.

guest
guest

B*tch got away w/ murder. She let him in because she was angry, that's why she attacked him with a deadly weapon. Was not self defense (nobody afraid for their life LETS an attacker back in the house once they're safe inside). And when she speaks you can tell she's not remorseful.I'm just sickened over this.

Fuelflea
Fuelflea

So if the drunken ass girl beating thug would have just left when he was pushed out the first time instead of beating on the door again, he would still be alive. Looks like he got what was coming. Good reddens.

Atlbreyegl
Atlbreyegl

The only thing missing is the suicide part of the murder-suicide

Ijr Poe
Ijr Poe

looks like classis case of self defense to me

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Replying to FMHN:"THC does not provoke the same agression that alcohol is known to do."

I never claimed this. You should actually read posts that you respond to before you go on a long diatribe that makes you look foolish.

He claim is that people do not get violent and aggresive while high. Which I have proved to be false.

Guest
Guest

this girl should totally go to jail! she left shaun outside her door bleeding to death, at least call the police for god's sake! CALL THE POLICE YOU STUPID WOMAN AND YOU WOULD BE OF THE HOOK + SHAUN WOULD STILL BE ALIVE!

kmg
kmg

Alcohol is a key factor in this event. I agree that if she opened the door to confront him, she should be held accountable for something. She knew he was there and knew what would ensue, meaning the level of hostility---by holding the bottle.  If I was choked and had to push my boyfriend out of my apartment with my sister, I would be on the phone calling 911! THE LAST thing I would do is open the bloody door. Calling the police would bring a sense of rationalization to the situation. Now!! If he had kicked the door in, and she confronted him -- I could see the law applied.

KaDargo
KaDargo

I wonder how this would have turned out had cannabis been the substance of choice?  I'm betting he would be alive today.  Alcohol enhances aggression and directly contributes to violence.  Cannabis does neither.

1235
1235

That's horrible if she's gets make my day...

Purplefizz11
Purplefizz11

Make my day mu butt!!! She not only opened the door to him once but opened it again with beer bottle in hand. If she was afraid for her life she should have called the police. At least his family would still have him. She is a murderer and she knew what she was doin!

Jean Flournoy
Jean Flournoy

I know Shaun. He would never hurt her. She attacked him. A friend of her's used the "make my day" law. Now she thinks she can too. She opened the door again.....she took the time to go and get the bottle. If she gets away with it, our justice system is just wrong. People need to let the DA know your feeling......calmly. The life of a good person was taken because she couldn't control her temper, and her drinking. She needs to know the outcome of such actions. RIP Shaun ......I will miss you.....

Scretch
Scretch

If they weren't drinking they wouldn't have had access to beer bottles in the first place. I recommend A.A. oh but there's that impending jail term first.

jbarc
jbarc

This is outrageous. Tell the D.A. to get off his behind and get this girl in jail. She brutally murdered her boyfriend and now could possibly get away with this. She breaks a bottle over his head and then stabs him with it. Then tosses him outside while he is bleeding to death. Disgusting. Only in America could someone get away with this

noone
noone

This is no comparison to any case.. She opened her door with the intent on hurting Shaun. Not once were the police called cause she was scared for her life she didnt call the cops after the incident either.. She needs to pay for her actions.... 

Guest
Guest

*sigh*

I miss Pete.

Jimmycap
Jimmycap

What is reddens?  Is that where you get all red in the face?  Oh, you meant riddance.  

fuelflea
fuelflea

Maybe she would have if he hadn't broken her phone

Fuelflea
Fuelflea

I would be on the phone too. OOPS - HE BROKE IT

Silver Swan
Silver Swan

Drinking people lose their logic & perspective.  Had she given him his keys, he could have been DWI, crashed & killed or crippled innocents while trying to get back home. He should have called for a ride home from the bar....as she did.  People indicated what a good guy he was, so it is doubtful that a sober Cassidy would have attacked these girls, especially if his family had been standing there with him.  However, he was not sober, nor  did they observe what happened earlier because they were not in Fort Collins.  Getting choked/strangled cuts off blood flow/oxygen to the brain while the victim is being choked [a blood clot could form] which can leave them dazed/confused/disoriented.  Brain cells die without oxygen.   And she had also been drinking. Sounds like it meets the criteria for the 'Make My Day' Law. 

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

As a medical marijuana card holder I only have on thing to say to this. Shut up and stop trying to change the subject. And I know plenty of people who have gotten into fights while only high on marijuana. What a bunch of nonsense.

LvnFree
LvnFree

you must be a relative of the dude.   This guy is clearly 1) Drunk and 2) assaultive towards a woman.   Sounds justified to me. 

Scretch
Scretch

It doesn't sound like self defense to me at all. It sounds more like, *you pissed me off bad and i want to win the argument at all costs*  RIP Shaun.

Jake_V
Jake_V

I think you're way off base pal.  He forced his way back in.

Doesn't matter her intent at that point, the law clearly states she is in the clear because he forced his way in and was attempting to assault her.

Med109
Med109

The story says her sister had a phone, READ!

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

He took a cab to her house. So explain to me how giving him his keys would have caused him to get a DWI when he did not have a car to drive.

KaDargo
KaDargo

Then why don't I read about that happening?  All I ever seem to see in the news is stuff like this happening with regard to alcohol and never involving cannabis.

GetReal
GetReal

You are full of shit.

Guest
Guest

Wanna hold each other and cry about it?

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

LOL? What are you 12?

Forsworn42
Forsworn42

LOL. You just want to fight about everything. I am guessing he took the cab to her place to get his keys (you know the ones they were fighting about) so he could grab his car and DUI himself home

Guest
Guest

People can be violent on jelly beans...probably more so than dope, dope.

Guest
Guest

Dude...whoever the hell you are. Suck it up (not the haze). You got it wrong here. Grow a testicle, man up and admit you've taken it too far. Your KaDargo person is essentially correct...THC does not provoke the same agression that alcohol is known to do. This is an indisputable fact...look that up on the internet! As for the 'medical marijuana' bullshit...I come from a country where, although illegal dope is very much a part of the general culture, no one here supports what you're doing there...it will all end in tears because such a system is open to abuse. You're not crusaders, you're opportunists who have found a legitimate practice and perverted it to allow general consumption...and those that really need it (Ca sufferers and the like) will eventually miss out. Clearly, looking at your very flawed 'logic' you at least have had enough.  ::puff::  ahhhhhhhh

KaDargo
KaDargo

According to our law makers, the justice system, and the ignorant, cannabis is evil.  Every effort should be exercised to eradicate it and its users, while alcohol, which flows in abundance, mostly unregulated, continues to be the real problem.  That is my point.  This story is just one small example. 

Why is it OK for me to possess a whole liquor store of alcohol which kills daily, yet we patients have to count our plants and weigh our meds as to not have too much when cannabis has never killed anyone and causes far less problems to both the user and society as a whole?  That is my other point.

I use this story as an example, to once again, display the insanity of it all.  Had this guy and this woman been blazing away instead of gulping down booze, the dude would be alive today, hell they might have even forgot what they were arguing about.

This country made a huge mistake by lifting prohibition on alcohol.  That mistake was compounded when it was then lowered on cannabis.  Look at what has happened since then.  How many more have to die?

http://www.saferchoice,org

Have a good weekend.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

I already found a headline for you. Thanks for ignoring it!

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Being right about what? Are you also going to deny that people can be violent on pot? Because its already been proved otherwise.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Im not wasting my time finding more storys that you will ignore.

I know what your point was, to turn this into a debate between pot and booze, even though this story doesnt mention pot at all. Thanks for changing the subject!

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Hes right and nobody has every gotten into a fight while high, even though ive posted evidence that it has happened. And you are saying I have low intelligence. Im sorry but I dont sugar coat. If somebody says something moronic, I will call them a moron.

WTF
WTF

Name calling is a sign of low intelligence.  KaDargo has yet to call you anything and yet you openly admit he is pissing you off?  Wow, what power you give him.  Get a clue.  He's right.  Also, put down the beer before you go into a real rage.

GetReal
GetReal

Give it up, dude.  That guy is obviously all about winning, not being right.

KaDargo
KaDargo

Can't find any more, huh?  It should be easy given the amount of cannabis in this state, yet, drunks, causing problems, is still what I hear from the news media. 

Maybe alcohol causes more problems than cannabis which was MY point from MY original post?

http://www.saferchoice.org

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

You asked for a headline, and I supplied you with one, and now you are crying about it?Ive already linked a recent story, Ive linked to a forum where pothead admit over and over to fighting while high. What more do you need? You should figure out how to use google and find these things out for yourself.

So what if you hear about head lines about alcohol every day. This isnt a pot vs booze story. But for some reason morons like you choose to turn every booze story into a retarded fight.

It only makes our side look worse. If you want to argue about the merits of pot, do it with out comparing it to booze every chance you get. Not only is it cliche, it proves nothing.

The thing that pisses me off the most about medical marijuana, is that morons like you open your mouths about it and make the entire movement look stupid. Thanks!!!!

DenverDude
DenverDude

Given the number of patients in this state, you would think it would be easy to find headlines of people causing problems due to cannabis use.  I never see anything being reported either.  Wonder why?

KaDargo
KaDargo

Congratulations, you found ONE.  I see at least ONE A DAY involving alcohol.  Got any more?

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

I was being facetious. Your logic is moronic. Because you have never read about it happening, it has never happened has to be the dumbest thing ive read this month. Maybe you should lay off the pot.

Headlines? Well here is a guy that assulted a woman in a park while high:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/kc...

Its amazing what a simple google search will turn up. But you can pretend that everybody who partakes in pot are dosile people that would never hurt a fly. I live in the real world where gang members drive around smoking blunts and getting into fights. Where people get high, have a break in sanity and attack people.

Enjoy your stay in La-la-land.

KaDargo
KaDargo

The sun rising in Juno, Alaska isn't news.  Some stoner in a cannabis rage would be, and yet I still wait for it to be reported in the news...all the while, drunks continue to cause all the problems.  If stoners where causing problems, the news would be all over it, yet I hear nothing.  Got any headlines?

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

Well Ive never read that the sun rises in Juno, Alaska so it must never happen.

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