Man sentenced for involvement in Security-Widefield area killing

By Chhun Sun Published: October 26, 2015

A 26-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail and three years of probation for his involvement in the deadly shooting of Daniel Baird last year in the Security-Widefield area.

Nathan Varnadore pleaded guilty in January to being an accessory in the death of Baird, 37, who was shot and killed on May 3, 2014.

El Paso County sheriff's deputies found Baird lying on the kitchen floor of Malory's home with his face up and a pack of cigarettes in his hand, according to Gazette archives. Baird was shot once in the head and twice in the chest in a house in 1000 block of Main Street.

Also arrested in the shooting were Michael Malory, 60, and Brian Springsted, 33.

Springsted was convicted of first-degree murder in November and sentenced to life in prison. Malory, who was found guilty of second-degree murder earlier this month, will be sentenced in January.

Varnadore's attorney, Julia Stancil, said before the sentencing that her client got to know Springsted and Malory in early 2014, after he found out that his wife was having an affair.

"He was really lost at the time," she said.

Stancil said Varnadore was drawn to Springsted because "he had a character people seem to like." And Malory was like "a father figure" to Varnadore, she said.

Varnadore's downfall is that "he's loyal to a fault," Stancil said. "That spirit of wanting to be included and helpful brought him to Mr. Malory's house that day."

His allegiance to the men led him to lie to investigators multiple times, Stancil said, adding "that it was protecting two people who he realized were not good people. He didn't realize that right away."

Fourth Judicial District judge Gilbert Martinez asked Stancil why her client didn't leave the house when he heard about his friends' plan to kill Baird.

"They were drinking hard, they were talking smack," Stancil said. "And it just seemed stupid, that there was no way that they'd follow up on anything that they talked about doing that day."

On Monday, Varnadore appeared remorseful for his involvement in Baird's death.

"I'd like to give my deepest and greatest apology that I've ever given," he said, turning to Baird's mother, Janet Anderson, who sitting in the courtroom.

"You made a conscious decision knowing (Malory and Springsted) were more than likely going to confront somebody there and went to the house," the judge told Varnadore. "You went there for a reason. I don't know what was going through your mind at that time. But you weren't at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was your choice to go there."

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