Man sentenced to 35 years in prison for kidnapping hikers at gunpoint

DENVER (KDVR) — A man received a 35-year prison sentence Thursday for kidnapping and holding two hikers hostage in the summer of 2022.

Kerry Endsley, 75, pled guilty earlier this year to one count of attempted murder in the first degree as a crime of violence and one count of attempted disarming of a peace officer, according to a release from the Colorado First Judicial District Attorney’s Office,

Hikers held at gunpoint knew kidnapper

The kidnapping happened on June 17, 2022. Two hikers, a man and a woman, were having an early morning run at Fehringer Ranch Park when they passed a man, now identified as Endsley, kneeling on the path. According to the release, he wore blue clothes, a fake mustache, a FedEx hat and sunglasses.

As the hikers passed, Endsley pointed a firearm at them, ordering them to get on their knees and put their heads forward. He then put a leash around the woman’s neck and led them at gunpoint to the middle of a field.

Endsley told the hikers they would die that day, according to the release.

The woman recognized Endsley by his watch and distracted him while her husband grabbed his gun. According to the release, that’s when the hikers fled, running in opposite directions as Endsley continued threatening them.

Another runner witnessed the incident and told dispatchers what was happening in real-time. When a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived, Endsley charged at him and reached in his pocket to pull out a stun gun, which caused the deputy to fire his weapon. Endsley continued to approach the deputy until another deputy arrived and tased him.

When deputies searched Endsley, they found a stun gun, pepper spray and keys to his SUV. Deputies “uncovered a frightening scene” when they searched the vehicle, according to the release.

In the vehicle, deputies found a mattress, blankets, tarps, multiple restraints, power tools, leashes, collars, rope, knives, ammunition, another stun gun, duct tape, handcuff keys, a FedEx hat, a FedEx sweatshirt, a hatchet and an extra loaded magazine.

Endsley said he was having a heart attack and was taken to the hospital where he asked a deputy for help getting his legs onto the hospital bed. Then, Endsley lunged at the deputy, reaching for his gun and punching him in the forehead.

Court case leads to guilty plea from suspect

Endsley pled guilty to one count of attempted murder in the first degree as a crime of violence and one count of attempted disarming of a peace officer on Jan. 22.

Man who kidnapped hikers had background of bribery, domestic violence

On Thursday, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison with no credit for time served for the above crimes and was resentenced to six months in jail with credit for time served for a 2021 domestic violence harassment charge.

During the sentencing, the woman addressed how Endsley’s actions have affected the victims’ lives. She said she has dealt with constant fear and anxiety since that day.

“I hope that I can be a strong voice to create more awareness and hope for others while they face their fears and navigate through their recovery and trauma experiences,” she said.

Neither hiker was physically injured in the kidnapping, and the family has since relocated to another state to start over, the release stated.

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