FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A man who admitted killing a woman who disappeared after leaving a Denver nightclub pleaded guilty Tuesday in a brutal Fort Collins attack that police say the victim escaped by jumping out a second-floor window.
Travis Forbes entered the plea to attempted first-degree murder as his victim watched from the front row of the courtroom.
Under a plea agreement, sex assault and all other charges against the 31-year-old Forbes were dropped. The deal calls for him to spend 48 years in prison on top of the life sentence he received Monday in Kenia Monge’s slaying.
Monge, 19, disappeared in March after leaving a Denver nightclub. The Associated Press is not using the name of the woman in the Fort Collins case because she is an alleged sexual assault victim.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Brinegar said Forbes met the Fort Collins woman in a park at a Fourth of July fireworks show and that the two ended up at her condo.
She later told authorities Forbes strangled her and stomped on her head, breaking her jaw and eye socket. She said she escaped by jumping out a second-floor window.
After entering his plea, Forbes said the attack “was not anything personal” and that he chose the woman at random.
He said he is disturbed and “probably would have done this again.”
“I’m evil,” Forbes said.
Family members told the judge that the victim suffered a stroke as a result of damage to her carotid artery and was left unable to speak. They said the fact that she jumped out a window preserved DNA that led to Forbes’ arrest.
The victim’s father read a statement on her behalf. “You caused me no harm. My spirit, my soul and my mind remain untouched,” he read. “May you find peace in this life.”
Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson said he asked for the 48-year prison term to make sure Forbes is never released. Sentencing is set for Oct. 21.
As Forbes was led out of the courtroom, he turned to a man and woman sitting in the front row and said as he started crying, “Goodbye, Dad. I’m sorry.”
The couple didn’t identify themselves and left without speaking to reporters.
The plea deal was part of a joint resolution by prosecutors in Denver and Fort Collins in the two cases.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said Monday that Forbes agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder in Monge’s death and serve life in prison without parole in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.
Forbes entered his guilty plea and was sentenced Monday at a usually routine first hearing. The plea came less than three weeks after Forbes led authorities to Monge’s body.
Morrissey said Forbes’ arrest in the Fort Collins attack provided the break in Monge’s killing.
Anthony Lee, Monge’s stepfather, said he met with Forbes at a gas station after Forbes sent a text to Monge’s phone asking if she made it home all right. Police questioned Forbes and searched his van, but Lee said the overwhelming smell of bleach from the van raised suspicions.
Lee said that despite the suspicions he kept an open mind that Forbes was innocent. That is, until Forbes’ arrest in the brutal Fort Collins attack.
“After that, there was only one question for him: `Where’s Kenia?'”‘ Lee said.
Morrissey said as part of the plea deal, Forbes agreed to provide investigators all the details of the case.
“He may say it was an accident, a mistake,” Lee said of Forbes’ courtroom characterization of Monge’s death. “But that Fort Collins case demonstrated that not only was he capable of violence, but that he was doing it.”
Forbes, who has a criminal record for assault, trespassing and theft, worked at a bakery in the Denver area at the time of Monge’s disappearance. He faced an auto theft allegation for allegedly driving a friend’s SUV to Texas, but that charge was later dropped.