Jury foreperson in Christian Glass murder trial says there was one holdout on second-degree murder conviction

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A bouquet of flowers rests by a stone at the Silver Plume site where Christian Glass called for help from his stranded vehicle in June 2022. Clear Creek County deputies responded to his call, and in a moment captured by officers’ body cameras, one deputy shot and killed the 22-year old man. There was a vigil on Wednesday evening, Sept. 20, 2022, in Idaho Springs for Christian Glass.

As the 12 jurors sat in a mountain courthouse in Georgetown last week, it became pretty clear that they were mostly in agreement to convict a former sheriff’s deputy of murder for fatally shooting a man who called 911 for help when he crashed his car.

Except one juror. 

Now, the foreperson of that jury, Kristi Englekirk, a defense attorney who served on the panel in the case against former deputy Andrew Buen, is speaking out about the “one holdout” juror who she describes as “unreasonable.”

Englekirk said she hoped by coming forward to reporters this weekend that she would both comfort the family of Christian Glass, who was shot and killed at 22 years old, and also inspire prosecutors to retry the case. 

Englekirk said that within an hour of closing arguments and the start of deliberation last week that 10 of the 12 jurors wanted to convict Buen of second-degree murder and the other two misdemeanors he was charged with in the shooting death of Glass.

Courtesy of Kristi Englekirk
Kristi Englekirk served as the foreperson on the jury in the case against former sheriff's deputy Andrew Buen, who shot and killed Christian Glass. She spoke to CPR News via Google Meets on Sunday, April 26, 2024.

In order for there to be a conviction, all 12 jurors have to agree.

“Very quickly that holdout juror said, ‘I'm never going to convict on murder and we should just hang this jury right now,’” Englekirk said, in an interview with CPR News on Sunday. “And, ultimately, that's where we ended up because they never came around. But that was kind of frustrating to hear, when we hadn't even really gone through anything yet for them to just be like, ‘No, I'm never going to come around.’”

Englekirk said she was purposely using a they/them pronoun in order not to identify the holdout juror by gender.

Call for help in June 2022

In June 2022, Glass called 911 for help after attempting a u-turn on a mountain road in Silver Plume and crashing his SUV. Buen and his partner, Tim Collins arrived on the scene and Glass told them he was afraid to get out of his own car and asked to be towed. 

Buen escalated the scene and refused to allow Glass to drop some geology gear out of the window, including a knife and a hammer and some rocks. Eventually, 70 minutes later, Buen used a stun gun and a bean bag gun on Glass and ultimately ended up shooting him five times.

Buen was charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct. Last week, the jury convicted him of reckless endangerment after three days of deliberations but they were hung, or gridlocked, on the other two charges. Reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor,  can carry up to 120 days in jail.

Emotionally exhausting watching police footage

Englekirk described the two-week trial as emotionally exhausting, watching hours of body-worn camera of the tense, escalating situation with Glass, watching the emotions of Glass’s parents, Simon and Sally, throughout the trial wearing pink every day. (Their son’s favorite color was pink.) 

And it was difficult, she said, to not be able to talk to anyone about it.

After more than a day of deliberation and talking, 11 jurors were in agreement to convict Buen  of criminally negligent homicide. 

This was a lesser charge than second-degree murder he was charged with but still a felony.

But, Englekirk said, the holdout juror remained steadfast.

“Their statements kept getting more and more just obviously biased and obviously unreasonable,” she said. “They were saying things along the lines of ‘police can do whatever they want’. And ‘I think that every single thing that this police officer did was objectively reasonable.’ And it got to a point where it's just like, I don't really know how to talk to you anymore when that's what you're saying.”

Englekirk said she didn’t know why she was chosen to be on the jury, but she said she has represented victims as an attorney in private practice and also has represented defendants in criminal trials. She said she can empathize and understand both sides. 

But she said Buen’s actions that she saw through more than a week of evidence and expert witness testimony left her aghast. Buen was fired from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office in 2022, when lawyers hired by the Glass family released body-worn camera footage to the media.

“Me and most of these jurors felt so strongly that he should be convicted of murder,” she said. “And I am very, very upset about the actions that this officer took.”

Some jurors to attend Monday hearing

There is a hearing on Monday afternoon about sentencing Buen for the reckless endangerment conviction. Englekirk said she and some of the other jurors, most of whom prefer to remain anonymous for now, plan to show up in support of Glass’s parents.

Simon and Sally Glass received a $19 million settlement for their son’s death from various law enforcement agencies. 

“I also want the family to know where we stood, because it's got to be very hard for them to hear, ‘Oh, we couldn't decide,’ ” Englekirk said, noting she asked to talk to them. “And I don't want them to think we couldn't decide because we had a question about this, or this was unclear. Or maybe it's kind of gray — because it wasn't gray. It was very, very clear to all of us except for one unreasonable person.”

Another juror who asked to remain anonymous emailed a written statement, sent via Englekirk, that Buen should have to face the ramifications of his decision to shoot and kill Glass. 

Buen’s defense attorneys, throughout the trial, said that Buen suspected Glass of driving under the influence and also was afraid of the knife Glass had with him in the car.

The 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum, who tried the case this month, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the jurors’ concerns.