Prosecutors say a Colorado Springs father accused of enlisting the help of his two sons in a four-month-long bank robbery spree is working on a new scheme: Selling his story to the highest bidder.
In letters written from the El Paso County jail, Brock Edward Butson, 53, bragged to family members that he planned to sell the tale of his family's legal woes and use the proceeds to go somewhere "sunny," prosecutor Jakrapong Pattamasaevi alleged Thursday at a bond hearing for the father.
"We believe he is an extreme flight risk," the prosecutor said.
District Judge Robert Lowrey denied a request to lower Butson's bond, ordering that he continue to be held on $750,000 bond.
The brief hearing shed new light on the circumstances surrounding the heists, with a woman who identified herself as Brock Butson's longtime girlfriend addressing a vexing question: Why would a man place himself and his children in such peril?
According to Linda Summers of Colorado Springs, Butson is a chronic pain sufferer who "went to the streets" in search of relief and found it in the form of pills, heroin and methamphetamine.
To feed his drug habit, he robbed banks with his sons' help in a downward spiral borne of "desperation."
"This is a lot like the TV show "Breaking Bad,'" Summers told Judge Lowrey, invoking an AMC television drama that chronicles the rise and fall of a high school chemistry teacher driven to manufacture methamphetamine to fund his cancer treatments.
But according to the man's ex-wife, also in attendance on Thursday, Brock Butson is little more than a huckster who got his sons addicted to hard drugs then manipulated them into a scheme that could land them behind bars for decades.
"All they ever wanted was a dad, and that's the kind of dad they ended up with," said Carolyn Butson, who divorced Brock Butson in 2009.
She said her priority now is to protect her 14-year-old son, who has not been implicated, and to "be there for my boys without the influence of their dad."
She said of her older sons, Nicholas and Braden, "They are taking responsibility and they are ready to pay whatever they have to pay."
She added: "They've shown a deep desire to change their life, and get a life."
Nicholas Butson, 20, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of bank robbery, and faces up to six years in prison at a January sentencing. Braden Wayne Butson, 23, is due in court on Nov. 12, jail records show.
The trio were charged in a string of nine bank robberies and one attempted bank robbery in Colorado Springs and Monument, Pattamasaevi said.
Brock Butson on Thursday waived a preliminary hearing into the robberies, and is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 2. He is considering whether to accept a plea deal offered by prosecutors, his attorney, Damon Cassens, told the court.