Dan Pesch — who in 2017 confessed to killing Kiowa High School teacher Randy Wilson in 2010, only to later say he didn't do it and have murder charges dropped — was sentenced to three years' …
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Dec. 20, 2017: Arrest made in 2010 slaying of teacher
Jan. 20, 2018: Teacher murder case shrouded in secrecy
March 13, 2018: 'You can’t fill those shoes': Teachers, students remember slain teacher
March 20, 2018: 'He would want us to forgive': Arrest made years after teacher's death
April 27, 2018: More details emerge in teacher murder case
June 4, 2018: Judge clears way for trial in death of Kiowa teacher
Sept. 28, 2018: Murder suspect no stranger to false confessions
Oct. 20, 2018: Teacher death probe beset by obstacles
Dec. 7, 2018: Murder charge dropped in teacher death case
Feb. 6, 2019: Man who had been accused of killing teacher sentenced to probation
Dan Pesch — who in 2017 confessed to killing Kiowa High School teacher Randy Wilson in 2010, only to later say he didn't do it and have murder charges dropped — was sentenced to three years' probation on Feb. 4 after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted escape.
Pesch, 35, was scheduled to be released from the Elbert County Jail on Feb. 5, 414 days after he was arrested in December 2017 and charged with Wilson's murder. Pesch's arrest followed months of increasingly frantic confessions to Elbert County investigators. The murder charge against Pesch was dropped in Dec. 2018, after prosecutors said they were unlikely to convince a jury of Pesch's guilt.
Pesch pleaded guilty, however, to a charge of attempted escape, a felony, incurred when he broke free of arresting officers while being taken into the Elbert County jail in 2017.
Pesch has a history of falsely confessing to crimes, according to friends and family. His shifting confessions to Wilson's murder didn't match physical evidence in the case, according to testimony from investigators at a hearing in May 2018. Pesch's DNA was nowhere to be found on evidence in the case, and an alibi placed him hundreds of miles from the scene of Wilson's death, according to testimony.
“Mr. Pesch was in the midst of a mental health crisis” when he broke free from arresting officers in the jail parking lot, said Pesch's defense attorney, Elizabeth Orton, during his sentencing hearing. “I don't think his actions truly hit him until this charge, the attempted escape. It was in that moment where reality hit him that he was being arrested for a crime he didn't commit.”
Pesch, who smiled throughout the hearing, said he was sorry for the trouble he caused.
“I apologize for my actions to law enforcement and to the Wilson family for what occurred in 2017,” Pesch said. “I feel horrible about what I put them through.”
As part of his probation, Pesch will be required to complete a full psychiatric evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment, complete a substance abuse treatment program, attend cognitive behavioral therapy, submit to random drug tests and maintain employment of at least 40 hours a week.
Pesch has no permanent address, Orton said, and planned to move into a sober-living facility in Denver after his release.
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