Robert Hicks sentenced to 36 years in prison for Boulder murder

·4 min read

Sep. 23—Robert Hicks was sentenced to 36 years in prison for the murder of his roommate Curtis Stringe at their Boulder apartment in 2021.

Hicks, 32, was found guilty by a Boulder County jury of second-degree murder and third-degree assault following a trial in July.

On Friday, Boulder District Judge Norma Sierra sentenced Hicks to 36 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for the murder charge.

He was also sentenced to 586 days in jail on the assault charge, but was given credit for time served. That sentence will be served concurrent with the prison sentence.

The sentencing range for the second-degree assault charge was 16 to 48 years.

Hicks was originally charged with first-degree murder, but a jury instead convicted him of the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

While prosecutors pointed to the 11 stab wounds, Hicks took the stand and said he was acting in self-defense.

Police found Stringe on Feb. 14, 2021, in their East Moorhead Circle apartment in a pool of blood after Hicks called 911. Stringe later died of his injuries.

Prosecutors said Hicks had assaulted Stringe earlier in the day and then stabbed Stringe before resuming drinking and eating. Hicks claimed that Stringe was the aggressor and attacked him in the kitchen with a knife, forcing him to stab Stringe in self-defense.

Sierra said that with no other witnesses to the stabbing itself and with Hicks himself intoxicated to an "astounding" degree, it is possible nobody really knows what exactly happened that night.

"It tests credulity given (Hicks') state that evening that his testimony was a product of memory and a product of reality," Sierra said. "He wishes for us to believe that that is the truth. At most, the court can believe that is what you believe occurred."

While Hicks will likely be appealing the case, he did speak at the sentencing. He stood by his testimony, but did apologize to the Stringe family.

"I am so sorry for what I've done," Hicks said. "I am so sorry for what I did to Curtis, and I'm sorry for the pain it has caused the entire family.

"I never meant to take your son from you, I didn't mean to take a brother from you. I never meant for any of this to happen. I loved Curtis. Curtis was my best friend and I never meant to hurt him. The stuff that happened that night was the biggest mistake of my life and I can't take it back, and it haunts me."

Prosecutors asked for the maximum 48 years, saying Stringe posed a safety threat.

"He does pose a significant risk to the community," Chief Trial Deputy Adrian Van Nice said. "The court sees that in he way he interacts with the people closest to him over and over and over again."

Several members of Stringe's family spoke in an emotional two-hour hearing.

"It's going to be a lifetime for me, my family, a lot of Curtis' friends, of missing him," Stringe's brother Carl said. "He was a beautiful person, he was so full of love."

Van Nice said that lifetime of grieving should have been taken into account when considering Hicks' sentence.

"This family will be re-experiencing the grief and trauma of learning that Curtis had been brutally murdered by a person that he trusted," Van Nice said. "That is their punishment, and there is no mitigation for that sentence. There is no moment when they will wake up and it will be over."

But defense attorney Brooks Robinson asked for a sentence that would allow Hicks to get the substance abuse treatment he needed to become a productive member of society.

"Part of the solution can be rehabilitation, it can be redemption," Robinson said. "It doesn't minimize the loss of life, it doesn't minimize what the Stringe family misses from not having Curtis around."

Sierra noted that no matter her sentence, given his age and the possibility of parole it was likely Hicks would someday be released, and she urged him to take advantage of his second chance.

"It will to a large degree be up to you to engage in what is available," Sierra said.