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Publish Date: 10/25/2005

Police interview intruder’s roommate


LONGMONT — Evans Sussman’s roommate answered detectives’ questions Monday, three weeks after Sussman was beaten and stabbed to death by a mountain couple who told investigators he tried to force his way into their home.

While investigators aren’t yet saying what the roommate told them or who he is, they are hoping his input will help them piece together a clearer picture of Sussman’s life, Boulder County Sheriff’s Lt. Phil West said Monday afternoon.

“We are hoping (the roommate) can provide us with some insight into what Evans was involved in,” West said.

Detectives aren’t commenting on whether the man is under investigation in the case, and they have declined to identify him.

West said county investigators continue to review paperwork recovered from Sussman’s home to piece together his motivation for trying to force his way into the Sunshine Canyon home of Becci Starr and Scott Mattes on Oct. 3, armed with a knife, sections of rope and zip ties.

Starr and Mattes fought back and ended up killing Sussman in the home’s front entryway.

Investigators later determined Sussman did some auto work at the couple’s home years earlier.

In the two years leading up to his death, Sussman fell on hard times, interviews and court records show. He owed money to a handful creditors and clients and had been served with civil suits twice in the year leading up to his death.

At the time of his 2002 divorce, Sussman agreed to take on the debt of six credit cards, though his wife agreed to give him a total of $25,000 by Jan. 1, 2003. Amounts owed on the credit cards were not included in the file.

Also at the time of Sussman’s divorce, his daughter, then 5, attended a private elementary school that cost more than $7,000 in tuition per year. His wife agreed to be responsible for that expense, court records show.

In the months before his death, Sussman’s neon sign business was in trouble, relatives said, and he’d failed to finish some projects, resulting in civil lawsuits in 2004 and 2005.

Sussman was due in court Monday for a hearing on a motion in which his ex-wife, Diane Bacher, was seeking an increase in child-support payments.

Bacher has declined to speak with reporters, and attempts to reach her Monday were unsuccessful.

Sussman’s friends and relatives have said the Oct. 3 incident was out of character for the man, whom they described as attentive to his children and a good neighbor and friend.

“I felt very lucky to have him as a neighbor,” Jim Leemon told the Daily Times-Call last week.

Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-684-5215, or by e-mail at aarthur@times-call.com.

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