Zoey Ripple: Felony trespassing beef for drunk CU grad shot by homeowner
That's a felony, and it carries a potential penalty of up to five years in stir. But signals from Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett suggest that her punishment won't bring with it time behind bars.
As we detail in our original coverage, on view below, Ripple entered the spectacular home of Doreen Orion and Timothy Justice on May 23 after a night spent partying. She was apparently under the impression that she was still with friends when the couple began shouting at her to leave or face the prospect of being shot. When she didn't respond, Justice pulled the trigger, sending a piece of lead into her hip. She later registered a .2 blood alcohol content, almost triple the legal limit for intoxication.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, DA Garnett said Justice wouldn't be charged with a crime, since his actions fit within Colorado's Make My Day statute. However, he subsequently decided to fit Ripple with a trespassing beef under the belief that it perfectly matched the circumstances. "It simply means you entered someone's house without their permission," he told us.
Even so, he sees the allegation as a way to assist those who commit such offenses, as opposed to merely punishing them. "This is sort of an offshoot of the drinking culture on University Hill, where people wander into the wrong house for one reason or another," he said. "And the charge is a way to make sure we help the person get treatment for what may be a serious drinking problem. We want to help them get that under control."
He stressed that his office had yet to determine if Ripple fit this description. But, he added, "when you have a young person with an apparent blood-alcohol content of .2, that's an indication. You have to work pretty hard to get to a .2."
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Ripple is scheduled for a status conference on July 2. Here's our previous coverage.
Update, 7:08 a.m. May 30: Many questions remain in the matter of Zoey Ripple, the CU grad who was shot after entering the wrong house -- an incident detailed in our original coverage below. But we've got more answers thanks to Boulder Police's release of an arrest affidavit, seen here, which quotes her as saying that after a night spent drinking, she thought she was at a pal's house until a bullet tore into her hip.
According to the affidavit, Timothy Justice and Doreen Orion were asleep in their spectacular College Avenue home -- an abode described in the affidavit as being in a remote section of Boulder accessible by a road on a steep incline. The property is well-fenced and the surrounding area is covered with rocks, trees and bushes, with only the lengthy driveway allowing access to the residence.
Suddenly, the report continues, Orion heard a noise outside the French door of the master bedroom. She initially assumed an animal was causing the ruckus -- at least until she saw a glowing light and watched as an unidentified person entered through a sliding screen door. The couple ordered the person to leave several times, they stressed to officers, before Orion told Justice, "Get the gun," which was conveniently located in a nearby nightstand. He grabbed the weapon, chambered a round and fired toward the light, striking the intruder -- Ripple -- in the hip from a distance of about six feet.
A bedroom shot from the Realtor.com listing for the Orion-Justice home, which can be yours for $2.75 million.
At that point, Justice switched on the bedroom light to see Ripple on the floor at the foot of the bed, incongruously making a cell phone call. An instant later, Orion dialed a phone of her own, punching in the digits "9-1-1."
Later that morning, the reporting officer spoke with Ripple at Boulder Community Hospital, shortly before she was administered a dose of pain killers to deal with her injury. She told him she thought the Orion-Justice home was just "a step up" from the location of a house party she'd attended earlier in the evening -- an estimate that turned out to be just a little bit off (more on that later). When she entered the home, she said "the same thing I always say when I open a door: 'Hello.'" However, the response she received -- a lot of shouting and yelling -- only served to confuse her, especially since she thought she was with people she knew at a friend's house until the moment she was blasted by Justice's gun. (He isn't being charged with a crime thanks to Colorado's Make My Day law.)
Detectives subsequently interviewed a slew of Ripple's acquaintances, who said she'd attended a house party on Grandview Avenue until at least 10:30 p.m. -- after which she joined a group at a Broadway bar called the Goose. She stayed there until closing time, 1:45 a.m. Then Ripple and company headed to another house party -- this one on the 1100 block of University Avenue, about three-quarters of a mile from the Orion-Justice place -- a distance that qualifies as something more than a step. One friend said she left on foot sometime after 2:30 a.m. He assumed she was walking home, but she never quite made it.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Ripple is next due in court on June 15. Look below to see a larger version of Ripple's mug shot and the aforementioned arrest affidavit.
Page down to see our earlier coverage.