GOLDEN, Colo. (May 15, 2023) – late Friday, a Jefferson County jury returned guilty verdicts in the trial of Wayne Richard Lotz (DOB: 8-28-1963) for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, fifty-five-year-old Michele Scott of Conifer. Lotz was found guilty of First Degree Murder After Deliberation and other charges.
On the evening of Feb. 13, 2022, a neighbor called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) to report that her neighbor, Scott, hadn’t been seen since Feb. 10th, and she was concerned for her safety. Additionally, Scott had plans to watch the Superbowl with another neighbor and never showed up. There was no answer at the door, and Scott was not answering her cell phone. Deputies left Scott’s residence without successfully contacting her that night.
The following morning, friends of Scott forced entry into the garage, and when they did not find her or her vehicle, they again called JCSO. This time, Deputies observed what appeared to be smeared blood on a truck parked in the driveway, in the garage, as well as other places in the home. Deputies also discovered that Scott’s four dogs had not been cared for, and her cell phone was at the residence.
Later that day, Lotz was contacted while driving Scott’s Toyota Highlander and taken into custody for questioning. Lotz told police that Scott was on vacation and that he had permission to use her vehicle and credit card while he cared for her dogs and horses. Lotz was booked into the JCSO Jail on charges of Domestic Violence related Felony Menacing, Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft, and Criminal Possession of a Financial Transaction Device. Deputies would later locate blood evidence in the rear hatch area and on the inside of the hatch door of Scott’s Highlander.
Deputies continued to look for Scott, and on February 15, 2022, Deputies found a rug and moving blanket located in the area of Pleasant Park Road and South Ridge Road. Lotz’s cellular account records showed that on February 11, 2022, his cell phone was in that same area.
The area was searched by ground, as well as by air with drones, and no human body was immediately located. Later that afternoon, about .5 miles to the north of the rug and blanket, Scott’s deceased body was discovered under a pile of stacked rocks. Due to the steep terrain between the roadside and the location of her body, personnel with the Inter-Canyon Fire Department were called to the scene to conduct a technical recovery.
Scott was found with a brown leather leash looped around her neck, her wrists were bound with braided rope, her arms had been bound by horse lead, and her legs were bound with a dog leash and bungee cord. An autopsy would later reveal Scott’s cause of death was strangulation and blunt force injuries. Lotz’s DNA was found on the leash around her neck.
On Feb. 18, 2022, District Attorney Alexis King charged Lotz with eight counts, including Murder in the First Degree, Tampering with a Deceased Human Body, Menacing, Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Criminal Possession of a Financial Device, and two Crime of Violence counts.
On Friday evening, after a five-day jury trial, the jury deliberated for just over 3 hours before returning verdicts. The jury found Lotz guilty of all charges except Menacing. It was decided that Lotz would go to immediate sentencing, which took place at 9:00 am this morning.
Dozens of family members and friends filled the courtroom to address the Court and express the immeasurable loss caused by domestic violence. Scott was remembered as a dedicated mother, sister, and friend and someone who had a profound impact on the lives of those around her.
Scott had reported domestic violence incidents and protection order violations by Lotz beginning in 2020. On February 1, 2022, Lotz pled guilty to Attempted Violation of a Civil Protection Order, a class three misdemeanor. Less than two weeks later, Scott was murdered.
“Domestic violence is a horrible thing, and many people are afraid to speak out,” said a friend of Scott’s. “I thank you for taking this man off the streets and knowing he will never be able to harm another woman or family like this again. Thank you for justice.”
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Lotz to the maximum possible sentence on each and every count. “It is appropriate in this case for this defendant because he is a multi-state, multi-victim, domestic violence offender,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes. “He finished serving out a sentence on a protection order where Michele was the protected party a mere 10 days before he killed her.”
Statement from Chief Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes:
“We extend our gratitude to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation and to the jury for ensuring justice was served in this case. The heartbreaking loss of Michele serves as a solemn reminder of the dangers lurking within our community and the reality that domestic violence can happen to anyone. As a seasoned prosecutor, I am deeply saddened by yet another life lost to domestic violence. We must work together as a community to prevent future tragedies by raising awareness and providing resources and support to those affected.”
If you are being abused or know someone who is, please visit Violence Free Colorado https://www.violencefreecolorado.org/resources-2/ to find the domestic violence program nearest you. Anyone in crisis or in need of immediate help, dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or TTY (800) 787−3224.
The Court sentenced Lotz to life in prison plus 16.5 years in the Department of Corrections.
Count 1: MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Sentence: Life in Prison
Count 2: TAMPERING WITH A DECEASED HUMAN BODY
Sentence: 12 years in DOC *Consecutive
Count 3: MENACING
Verdict: Not Guilty
Count 4: AGGRAVATED MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Sentence: 3 years in DOC *Consecutive
Count 5: TAMPERING WITH PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
Sentence: 18 months in DOC *Consecutive
Count 6: CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A FINANCIAL DEVICE
Sentence: 18 months in DOC *Concurrent to counts 1-5