Home » Mother of Christian Glass choked back sobs at murder trial as she spoke of son’s love of rocks

Mother of Christian Glass choked back sobs at murder trial as she spoke of son’s love of rocks

by John Jefferson
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The mother of Christian Glass – who was shot dead in 2022 after calling 911 for help when his car got stuck – fought back tears on Wednesday as she took the stand in the murder trial of the ex-deputy charged in her son’s killing.

Sally Glass, wearing a white top, black slacks and a pink sweater in homage to her son’s favorite colour, outlined Christian’s avid interest in geology and art — explaining how many of the items that could have been viewed as weapons were tools for his rock art projects.

Christian, 22, was fatally shot on 11 June 2022 by then-Clear Creek Deputy Andrew Buen, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct. The prosecution has argued that Buen, who was terminated by the Colorado department following the charges, acted in an “aggressive, excessive and criminal” manner.

The defense queried Christian’s sobriety during opening arguments last week. They had pointed to possible drug paraphernalia in the car and highlighted white scrape marks on the vehicle – raising questions about Christian’s driving and potential incidents that night before he called 911 when his Honda became stuck on rocks off a dirt mountain road.

But on Wednesday during her testimony, his mother revealed that the car damage had happened years earlier.

“In 2019, he had a tire blowout; he was really lucky, actually, he wasn’t injured,” Sally told the court, explaining how he’d “made contact with” a white truck as he “tried to get off the road.”

“He had scrapes along the car where the car … had collided with the truck,” she said, accounting for the damage pointed to by the defense. The court heard that her husband, Simon, had taken photos of the white scrapes at the time as they considered an insurance claim.

Simon and Sally Glass in 2023 (Associated Press)

Simon wore a pink shirt as he watched her testimony from the first row of the gallery. The family lawyer sat beside him, and two friends lent support from the row behind. It was Simon who had given Christian some of the other items in the car which were questioned by the defense, Sally testified.

“My husband is very safety conscious, and we all were given hamers, mallets first aid kits, various things, in case we got stuck,” she said. “So we all had those things in our cars, and that hammer was our hammer that we gave to him.”

On the night Christian called 911, the operator asked if he had any weapons in the car; he mentioned the hammer, a mallet and knives, which he offered to throw out of the vehicle to make responding officers feel safer. Both the operator and Buen, repeatedly, told him not to do so.

While the hammer came from his father’s protectiveness, the knives came from Christian’s art projects.

Sally told the court Wednesday that Christian had just returned from an art trip to Moab, home of the famous red rock formations, a few hours away in Utah. He routinely used knives such as the curved blade found in his Honda to “try and, you know, get a rock out of the ground, or if he saw something that was a different colour or different strata, he would use a knife to try and get the rock out.”

The curved knife found in the car, she said, “could be bent because he would try and pull a rock out.”

“He loved rocks so much; he loved the red rocks, all the strata,” Sally said, choking back sobs. “He actually loved climbing them, as well; that’s actually why he chose Moab to do his art trip – it’s very rocky.”

Christian Glass smiles with his parents, Sally and Simon Glass, from England and New Zealand, respectively (The Glass Family)

Christian’s artistic pursuits also accounted for a butane lighter found in the car, she said; the defense had pointed to the lighter as drug paraphernalia.

“Most artists would have a butane lighter, and its function is really for two things,” she said. “First of all, it’s for heating, so it’s called an acrylic pour, where you warm up the acrylic paints and you can actually pour them … and then the colors can separate.

“The other reason, particularly, if you’re out on the road, it’s used to set, so it’s used to dry. So if you do any painting or work that’s wet, it’s a very quick way of drying it.”

Christian was “still, I guess, learning” as an artist, she said.

“He used lots of different types of mediums of art, so he used charcoal, he did drawing, oil pastels, increasingly, though, he liked acrylics and oils,” she said.

Sally told the court she was aware her son used marijuana recreationally, and that he knew it was both wrong and dangerous to drive under the influence.

She took the stand during the fourth day of testimony in the trial. On Tuesday, forensic pathologist Meredith Frank testified that Christian had been killed by five bullets in a homicide. CBI Agent Derek Graham, the lead investigator on the case, also testified that Buen had endangered other officers on the night of the shooting.

Following his arrival on the scene with shift partner Tim Collins, Buen was joined by five other officers from four different agencies. They spent more than an hour attempting various methods to extract Christian from the car, alternatively coaxing and barking orders, before using non-lethal force of bean bag rounds and Tasers on the 22-year-old, who never left the driver’s seat.

During the effort, Christian thrashed around and grabbed the small knife, gesturing towards the back of the vehicle, where the window behind him had been broken.

Buen subsequently fired the five fatal rounds at Christian, claiming in a videotaped interview shown to the jury on Monday that he’d been afraid the blade would injure Georgetown Marshal Randy Williams, though the other officer was outside of the vehicle throughout the duration.

If Buen had not been “a good shot, other officers were in jeopardy,” Graham testified Tuesday.

Prosecutors have argued that no officers were in danger from Christian during the response. The six other officers on the scene have been charged with duty to intervene, essentially failure to stop the escalation of events that led to Christian’s death.

Sgt Kyle Gould, who was supervising remotely on the night and gave the order to breach the vehicle, pleaded guilty late last year to lesser charges and has been stripped of his peace officer certification in Colorado.

The trial continues.

Read the full article here

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