Aurora man found guilty of murdering fiancee, will get life in prison

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. — An Aurora man is facing life in prison after being found guilty of strangling and killing his fiancee, the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Sterling Austin, 58, was convicted of first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Aurora Coleman, who was 23 when she was killed in January 2017.

An Arapahoe County District Court jury deliberated four hours before announcing the guilty verdict on April 11.

“All murders are acts of lawlessness and evil, but there is something particularly torturous about strangling a person to death, feeling them struggle to live and watching the life drain from their faces at less than arm’s-length for up to five minutes. Five minutes,” District Attorney George Brauchler said.

“This is why we build prisons. Our office had eight murder trials in 2018. This is the 15th murder trial in our courts this year already.”

On Jan. 7, 2017, prosecutors said Austin called 911 to say Coleman needed medical assistance. First-responders found her dead in Austin’s car.

Austin told detectives that he thought Coleman had taken drugs and passed out and was afraid to call for help earlier because he didn’t want her to get into trouble.

But 12 hours before the 911 call, police said a witness reported seeing a man in the car punching and choking a woman. The man drove off before officers arrived, prosecutors said.

The corner determined Coleman was strangled and evidence led to murder charges against Austin.

Austin will be sentenced on June 6. The statutory mandated sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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