A 48-year-old man who was found unconscious Thursday outside a Manitou Springs apartment and later died was brutally beaten and left to die in a kiddie pool filled with water, according to arrest affidavits.
Freddie Joseph Crespo, 32, and John Robert Swinehart, 25 were arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree assault in the killing of Jimmie Wayne Baker, 48.
Crespo’s and Swinehart’s accounts to Manitou Springs police differed, but both claimed that Baker had tried to sexually assault Crespo’s girlfriend in their apartment at 601 Manitou Ave. while the pair was gone, the arrest affidavits say.
According to Crespo, he found Baker touching his girlfriend and dragged him out to the front yard with Swinehart’s help. Crespo then told Baker he was no longer welcome at the house. He denied hitting Baker, telling police that bruises on his hands were from a fight earlier that night.
However, the police officer who investigated the earlier fight spoke with Crespo then and didn’t notice bruises on his hands, the affidavit says.
Swinehart claims that he arrived back at the apartment with Crespo, and Crespo’s girlfriend told them that Baker, who was in the other room, had tried to rape her.
Crespo then reportedly yanked Baker outside by his legs, punched him in the face, stomped on his chest and kicked him, according to the affidavit.
Swinehart told police he struck Baker several times in the shoulder, telling him to wake up, as Crespo swung at him.
After the beating, Crespo told Swinehart that he was “going to end” Baker and that he needed help tossing Baker into the pool, the affidavit states. The pair chucked Baker into the water.
Crespo’s girlfriend, whom the Gazette is not naming because of the claim that she was a sexual-assault victim, told police she did not remember most of the evening, only that Crespo and Swinehart pulled Baker out of the bed. She also said she did not think she had been assaulted.
Police were called by a neighbor who witnessed the altercation. First responders transported Baker to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central about 12:30 a.m. He died about 15 hours later.
Crespo and Swinehart initially were arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault. The charges were upgraded after Baker died, and the Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation.
If the death is ruled a homicide, it would be the first in Manitou Springs since July 2013, when 56-year-old Jacqueline Knudson died in a domestic violence killing.