I'd had a trigger lock, I'd be dead."
on March 14, 2001 as:
Man faces suspects accused of attacking him after getting ride
Victim had just fixed meal when he was assaulted and stabbed
Miller, Rocky Mountain News
GRAND JUNCTION -- Chuck Harris, his right
hand laced with stitches and his partially shaved head showing scars, came to
court Tuesday to eyeball his attackers.
It was the first time he had seen them since
March 1, the day he was attacked and stabbed repeatedly by young hitchhikers he
Harris, a contractor, had picked up three young
hitchhikers on his way home from work, taken them home and fixed them a steak
dinner. He was preparing to offer them work when two of them attacked him,
stabbing him repeatedly in the back, head and hands with knifes they had taken
from Harris' kitchen.
The assault stopped when Harris said he would get them money. Instead, he
grabbed a .44-Magnum pistol he kept in a desk drawer and began shooting. He shot
one in the torso. The two others tried to flee in Harris' car, so he shot out
Police arrested the pair a short distance from
That was more than two weeks ago. Tuesday,
Harris was in Mesa County Court, watching the legal process unfold.
"I plan to be here, every time," said
Harris, 48, who came to court Tuesday with his mother and two of his three
daughters. "I want them to get the maximum so they don't do this to anybody
Tuesday's proceeding set May 25 for a
preliminary hearing for the accused attackers -- Richard Barbee, 25, and Colleen
McLean, 18, both of Bakersfield, Calif. The third suspect, Harold Scott, is in
fair condition at St. Mary's Hospital. Charges are pending his release, police
Barbee and McLean remain in jail, Barbee on
$500,000 bail and McLean on $60,000 bail. Barbee faces 17 felony charges,
including a first-degree kidnapping charge that could result in life in prison
without parole. McLean is facing lesser charges.
Harris, whose right hand remains swollen and
bruised, said Tuesday that he will be off work for at least six weeks because
four of his tendons were severed in the attack.
"Working again is still a question,"
he said. "But I walked a mile today. I'm feeling stronger."
Harris said the attack took him by surprise and
that he was glad his pistol was easily available.
"If I'd had a trigger lock, I'd be
dead," he said. "If my pistol had been in a gun safe, I'd be dead. If
the bullets were stored separate, I'd be dead. They were going to kill me."