Cortez resident Robert Dean Rose admitted Friday to shooting and killing Mark Wayman in May at the victim’s Ignacio home, a crime punishable by decades in prison.
The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a Class 2 felony, before 6th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Norvell. He stood shackled at a lectern and flanked by public defenders Justin Bogan and Barrie Newberger-King, who passed Rose tissues as the judge reviewed his admission.
According to a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, Rose faces 16 to 48 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $1 million.
Rose has been incarcerated in the La Plata County Jail since his arrest in May, where he will remain until his sentencing hearing scheduled for Jan. 31.
Prosecutors in June accused Rose of first-degree murder, meaning he premeditated the act. If found guilty of first-degree murder, he faced life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After Friday’s plea hearing, Julie Ninis, the mother of Wayman’s son, Cliff, said, “It’s mind-boggling that this could happen in our community.” Wayman was an environmentalist and beekeeper who employed Rose at one point and even offered him a place to stay, she said.
La Plata County Sheriff’s deputies found Wayman’s body with three bullet wounds to the back of his head and neck.
“It’s a bizarre twist of fate,” Ninis said.
Rose told law enforcement that Wayman was his drug dealer, but Ninis said, “He wasn’t a drug dealer; he grew some pot plants. It’s legal.”
Wayman’s teenage son declined to comment. Ninis said her son has had trouble processing his father’s death. “He’s still going through his dad’s stuff,” she said.
“I think this (court hearing) made it really real for him,” Ninis said Friday.