The accused mastermind in the murders of former Monument resident Amara Wells and her brother-in-law Robert Rafferty pleaded not guilty in Douglas …
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The accused mastermind in the murders of former Monument
resident Amara Wells and her brother-in-law Robert Rafferty pleaded
not guilty in Douglas County’s notorious murder-for-hire case
Christopher Wells, of Monument, along with his accused
co-conspirators Matthew Plake and Micah Woody entered pleas of not
guilty Feb. 10 before a packed courtroom in Douglas County District
Court. The three are among four men accused in the grisly deaths of
Wells’ estranged wife Amara Wells and Rafferty. The two were killed
in the Rafferty home Feb. 23, 2011, after Wells allegedly hired
accused gunman Josiah Sher to murder them for the sum of
Sher entered a plea of not guilty and was informed in a Jan. 31
court hearing that he faces the death penalty, this despite the
fact that Sher had previously confessed to the murders of Amara
Wells and Rafferty. The two murders were witnessed by Amara Wells’
then 6-year-old daughter, who remains the state’s only living
witness to the crimes.
Wells also reportedly hired Sher to kill Wells’ sister Tamara
Rafferty, who was not at the home the night of the murders. Tamara
Rafferty was in court however, the day her brother entered his
He entered his plea with a new defense team and a new look.
Wells was the only defendant not in a prison-issued uniform, but
instead wore a suit and tie. Representing Wells in court, along
with his original attorney Tina Tussay-Cooper, was a new defense
attorney Mark Walta.
Walta asked and received permission from the court to enter the
Rafferty home for a walking tour of the scene of the crime. Walta
asked for access to the home to allow the new defense team to take
measurements and photos of the crime scene.
The prosecution objected to the request, saying Tamara Rafferty
no longer lives in the home and has it on the market for resale.
Douglas County District Court Judge Paul King granted Walta’s
“I understand the victim’s right to privacy and I know the
factual allegations of what took place in that residence,” King
said. “But I know we have charges of first degree murder and I have
to balance the interests. From the viewpoint of a lawyer, going to
the place where the crime took place and standing there where it
happened, it’s hard to place a value on it.”
According to King’s instructions, three of the four defense
teams will be provided access to the home on an agreed-upon date,
with permission to take photos, measurements and videos. The tours
will take place on a single day, at separate times, accompanied by
the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Tamara Rafferty’s real
Sher’s attorney successfully argued for confidentiality during
the tour, with permission to bring anonymous experts into the home,
whose identity and purpose can be withheld from the prosecution
Lead prosecutor Chief Deputy District Attorney John Topolnicki
expects that District Attorney Carol Chambers will have a decision
by April 9 about whether or not prosecutors will seek the death
penalty against Wells, Plake and Woody. The next scheduled court
date for Wells is at 8:15 a.m., April 10; the next scheduled court
date for Plake and Woody is at 1:30 p.m., April 20.
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