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Publish Date: 9/16/2005

Shooting probe nearly complete
Sheriff pursuing trespassing, traffic charges against teen

LONGMONT — The Weld County Sheriff’s Office has nearly completed its investigation of an intoxicated teen who they say was shot by the owner of a house he mistakenly entered Wednesday morning.

According to spokeswoman Margie Martinez, the sheriff’s office is still recommending that the district attorney charge the intruder, Nathan Weathers, with trespassing, in addition to traffic and driving under the influence violations related to a motorcycle accident they say he left just before entering the wrong house.

Officials from Longmont United Hospital said Weathers is in serious condition in the intensive care unit.

Martinez said the homeowner who shot Weathers, James Haflich of 2173 Meadowlark Lane, will not have charges recommended against him.

Meadowlark is in the Meadow Vale subdivision off Weld County Road 51/2, east of Longmont.

Before reports are formally completed and passed on to Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck for assessment, the district attorney’s office will not comment on the case, a spokeswoman there said.

Investigators said that when Weathers entered the Haflich home at 4 a.m. Wednesday through a window off the back porch — possibly confusing it with his own home one block away — Cheryl Haflich called to her husband.

“They yelled at him to get out or they would shoot,” Martinez said, “and he continued toward them.”

James Haflich then fired three shots from a 9mm handgun, one of which hit Weathers in the arm near the elbow, Martinez said. The bullet wound, she added, was not life-threatening and most likely wasn’t as serious as the facial injuries Weathers sustained from the single-vehicle motorcycle accident.

Though investigators don’t believe Weathers was armed or made direct contact with the couple, Martinez said the Haflichs were within their rights under Colorado’s 1985 Make My Day law.

“If they fear for their safety or the safety of someone else within the home, then they can use deadly force to protect themselves,” Martinez said.

The Haflichs’ statements have led the sheriff’s office to believe their safety was in danger, Martinez said.

Weathers’ former teachers say he graduated from Skyline High School in 2004 and has since worked in Safeway’s bakery on Pace Street.

Weathers and his girlfriend had a child around the time he graduated and have been on-again, off-again for a couple of years, a Skyline teacher said.

Weathers has pleaded not guilty to previous charges of third-degree assault, child abuse without causing injury and obstructing telephone service after Longmont police arrested him in March.

Though his former football coach, Bob Knapton, admitted that Weathers was easily frustrated and given to arguments with his teammates, Knapton was impressed with how Weathers responded after learning he’d become a father.

“He had his share of problems,” Knapton said, “but he held his job, stayed in football, stayed in school and graduated.”

Knapton said he occasionally benched Weathers to discipline him, “but then he’d turn right around and play strong for a while and have a good attitude.”

Neither the Weathers nor Haflich families wished to comment for this story.

A friend who did not give her name described Weathers as a fabulous father.

“Nathan is just a kid that got drunk,” she said. “He’s a great kid and a great dad. He just got drunk and messed up.”

Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.

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