Fort Collins woman sentenced for perjury in red flag filing involving CSU police officer

A Fort Collins woman was sentenced to probation Tuesday after a jury found her guilty of lying on a red flag petition she filed against the Colorado State University police officer who fatally shot her son.

Susan Holmes was found guilty of perjury and attempting to influence a public servant by a jury in April after lying on an extreme risk protection order petition — also known as a red flag petition — she filed in January 2020 against CSU Cpl. Phillip Morris.

The red flag law allows members of law enforcement, a family member or a household member to petition to have a person's firearms removed if they are deemed by a judge to be a threat to themselves or others.

In the petition filed Jan. 9, 2020, Holmes checked a box saying she is a family or household member of Morris — one of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of her son, 19-year-old Jeremy Holmes, on July 1, 2017 — specifically that she has a child in common with Morris.

Both officers were cleared from wrongdoing by the district attorney at the time of the shooting, Cliff Riedel.

Holmes was sentenced to two years of supervised probation by Judge Stephen Jouard. As part of her sentence, Holmes is also required complete a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment and do 96 hours of community service.

Holmes appeared in court wearing a "Justice for Jeremy Holmes" shirt. She told Jouard she did not want to make a statement "at this time."

Holmes' probation sentence will be allowed to transfer to Florida, where she has found stability in living with family, defense attorney Matthew Landers said.

Landers asked for Holmes to be sentenced to unsupervised probation in part so she would not have to pay the $50 monthly probation fee and have an easier time moving on with her new life in Florida. Holmes has very little income, and Landers said it will be hard enough for her to pay other fees associated with her sentence without a monthly probation fee.

Jouard waived the probation supervision fee based on Holmes' income. She will still have to pay approximately $1,700 to cover the fee to extradite her from New Mexico, where she fled after her first trial ended in a mistrial.

Holmes already spent nearly 180 days in jail throughout this case, and any further jail sentence would be unnecessary, Jouard said.

Holmes has maintained her innocence throughout this case, claiming she did not lie on the red flag petition because she believes that she and Morris do share her son in common because Morris fatally shot him. Immediately after the red flag petition hearing in January 2020, Holmes told reporters outside the courtroom that "I do not feel I've perjured myself."

The phrase "child in common" is not further defined on the form, which is intended to be filled out without the assistance of an attorney.

But Jouard said he believes she knew what she was doing, and it's not clear if "her judgment is impaired by grief" or "more likely, she doesn't care about the consequences of her behavior."

Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Axmacher said Holmes' actions in this case were "clearly influenced by grief and anger" and "motivated by revenge" against the officer responsible for her son's death.

Holmes has not taken responsibility for any of her actions, Axmacher said.

"At some point here there is a disconnect, and I don't know how to solve this disconnect," Axmacher said.

But Landers said he knew how to solve this disconnect Axmacher spoke about: Let Holmes move on from this case.

"This is a wound that will never heal for her," Landers said of her son's death, adding that her actions were largely driven by grief and the desire for accountability.

Holmes has several medical concerns and not a lot of financial resources, but she has a great support system with her family in Florida, Landers said, many of whom submitted letters to Jouard ahead of her sentencing.

Supervision isn't only unnecessary, it's a waste of resources, Landers said. Letting Holmes move on with as few ties to Colorado as possible by sentencing her to unsupervised probation is the best thing for her rehabilitation, he said.

Axmacher argued that supervised probation would give her the structure and support she needs to be successful.

"This is a difficult case, a difficult situation, and I do hope that at some point Ms. Holmes is able to come to terms with what happened and she is able to move on in a healthy and successful way," Axmacher said.

As of Tuesday, Holmes was still serving a 90-day unsupervised probation sentence she received in May after pleading no contest to violating bail bond conditions in a contempt of court case, but that case terminated Tuesday after she was sentenced in the perjury case, Landers said.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins woman who filed red flag petition against CSU police sentenced