On April 22, Susan Holmes was guilty of perjury and attempting to influence a public official while violating Colorado’s Red Flag law, which creates a process by which family members and law enforcement officials can temporarily restrict access to firearms fire for people considered a threat to themselves or others.
The Fort Collins woman is expected to be sentenced for the crimes on June 1; his sentence could range from probation to six years in prison, with a possible fine of $2,000 to $500,000. But she would face a lot more legal risks by then. Shell would be back in court on Friday, April 29, for a status hearing on two more counts related to alleged jury tampering (these are also felonies) the day after a few more misdemeanor cases are due to be decided.
What makes Holmes’ situation even more dystopian is that his prosecution stems directly from actions prompted by a huge personal tragedy: the shooting death of his nineteen-year-old son, Jeremy Holmes, by police corporal CSU Phil Morris near the university campus in July 2017. Jeremy was holding a knife at the time and Morris opened fire after the teenager began moving in his direction.
According to Holmes, Morris and his fellow officers knew Jeremy was in the midst of a mental health crisis at the time of the shooting. She believes they unnecessarily escalated a situation that could have been peacefully resolved and was upset that officials refused to release an auxiliary video edited from official body camera footage which she said proved her point.
In 2018, Holmes said Westword that the clip showed Morris completely losing control as his son lay dying: “All his blood is flowing – he’s bleeding right there on camera – and the officer is still pointing his gun at him and yelling at him to leave drop his knife.”
Here is the edited version of the video, which is age restricted due to its content.
Morris’ actions during filming were later deemed justified, and authorities refused to release the additional video, despite Holmes’ protests. So in early 2020, after the red flag law went into effect, she filed an extreme risk protection order against Morris by marking a section of the form that read: “I have a child in common with the respondent. (Regardless of marriage or if you lived with the respondent at any time.)”
Of course, the child in question was Jeremy, whom Holmes fathered and raised and Morris killed – and in an interview with Westword about her actions, she insisted that she had done nothing wrong. “I consulted two lawyers about this language before filing the ERPO, and one of them was a law professor,” she said. “So I actually got legal advice before I checked that box. … I don’t feel like I perjured myself. I don’t.”
At the time, however, ERPOs were a hot political issue for people like Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, who had publicly argued against the Red Flag Act. After Holmes rolled out his order against Morris, he said in a Facebook post that his actions illustrated the measure’s “enormous procedural flaws” and accused Holmes of “fraud”.
After a judge dismissed the ERPO against Morris, a warrant was issued for Holmes’ arrest, with Larimer County Crime Stoppers declaring her the most wanted person in the entire jurisdiction for the week of January 31, 2020. Several days later, on February 4, she was arrested while participating in a livestreamed conversation with a YouTube user known as timmybmn. Video of the incident has now been taken down, but it captured officers aggressively entering Holmes’ house and dragging her away as she repeatedly exclaimed, “You broke my arm! You’re breaking my arm!”
The perjury trial finally began more than two years later and resulted in guilty verdicts.
Neither Holmes nor representatives of the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office responded to Westword‘s request for comment on the case – which is still far from over, despite nearly five years having passed since the tragic shooting that sparked it.