Colorado man convicted of murder in love-triangle shooting

A Colorado man in an open relationship with his girlfriend has been convicted of killing her lover after finding the pair in bed together, according to reports.

Andrew Joseph Firkins, 47, was convicted of first-degree murder on Tuesday in the March shooting death of Nicholas James Laduke, 37 — whom he found in bed with his girlfriend, Shelby Stallwood, hours after the trio socialized together at a restaurant, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

Firkins erupted into a fit of jealousy after finding Stallwood and Laduke in bed together at the couple’s Colorado Springs apartment, prosecutors said.

Earlier that day, the threesome shared rounds of drinks over the span of several hours at a local Mexican restaurant. Firkins then agreed to let Laduke stay at the apartment for the next several days ahead of a looming snowstorm, according to testimony during the seven-day trial.

Firkins and Stallwood initially fell asleep together in their room, but Firkins later awoke to find his girlfriend no longer in bed with him. He then found Stallwood and her lover together in a guest bedroom, sparking the fatal shooting, the newspaper reports.

Stallwood later told cops she saw Firkins standing over Laduke’s body after hearing a series of gunshots, KRDO reports.

Firkins’ attorneys argued that Laduke attacked him first and asked jurors for a lesser second-degree murder conviction, citing the “highly provoking” act of seeing his girlfriend in bed with another man.

“A home is somewhere you should feel safe and secure,” public defender Kelly McCullough told a jury.

A second-degree murder conviction would have carried a maximum sentence of 32 years, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Instead, Firkins was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole, prosecutors announced.

Firkins’ attorneys claimed Stallwood broke the “ground rules” of the couple’s open relationship, but prosecutors insisted that they had no such understanding, the newspaper reports.

Stallwood couldn’t recall whether she had sex with Laduke prior to the March 12 shooting, she testified. Prosecutors, however, claimed she was too embarrassed to confess to the truth in front of “strangers” in court.

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