Two Denver Teens Charged With Beating Mentally Disabled Man To Death For Xbox

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Two Denver teens were charged Tuesday with beating a mentally disabled man to death in order to take his Xbox console.

Austin Holford and Luke Pelham, both 18, were charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault on an at-risk victim just hours after Aaron Tuneburg, 30, died.

Tuneburg was beaten unconscious with an aluminum bat in his Boulder home on March 31.

In a statement released Monday, his family said Tuneburg "is vulnerable, innocent and unable to discern danger.”

"Our family is devastated by this senseless tragedy,” the statement said. “We want you to know that at the heart of this is a wonderful man named Aaron, who is a beloved son, brother and uncle."

According to an arrest affidavit, Holford hit Tuneburg with the bat and Pelham stood outside with a golf club.

Despite the fact that Pelham denied hitting the victim during a police interview, forensic experts said Monday that Tuneburg appears to have been hit with the golf club.

"There are distinctive marks on Aaron that match the golf club," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Finn.

Pelham is being held on $100,000 bond. Bond for Holford, who is also being held on a misdemeanor failure-to-appear in court, is set at $500,000.

Finn requested that bond be increased for both the accused as new information has become available.

Holford’s attorney, Eric Zale, said his client won’t be able to make bail regardless.

Pelham’s attorney, Benjamin Collett, is asking for a bond reduction because his client suffers from Klinefelter syndrome.

Klinefelter, also known as fragile X syndrome, is a genetic disorder resulting from at least one additional X chromosome in males, which can result in cognitive impairment.

"A jail stay would have an unbelievable impact on him," Collett said. "In short, he functions cognitively a lot like a 10-year-old."

Collett said Pelham is easily manipulated and was tricked into participating in the crime.

They are each scheduled to appear in court on April 15.

Sources: KMGH, Daily Camera