Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU burglar draws maximum 60-year sentence

Tarius Laquan Simes, dubbed the DU burglar for a series of brazen early-morning burglaries that targeted students and young people living near campus, was sentenced to 60 years in state prison Thursday in Denver District Court.

“I have no doubt in my mind that if Mr. Simes hadn’t been caught, he’d still be out committing burglaries,” Judge Robert McGahey Jr. (JD ’74) said in passing sentence. “If I gave you any less time than I’m giving you, Mr. Simes, I would depreciate the seriousness and significance of what you did to the community and to these people.”

The sentence was the maximum under a plea agreement with prosecutors in which Simes admitted to counts of first-degree burglary, aggravated burglary and second-degree burglary, foregoing trial for the dozen or so burglaries that investigators believed he committed over more than a year.

Simes, 13 days short of his 34th birthday, could have received 40 years in exchange for his admissions, which was the amount his attorney, A. Kate Bouchee, requested. Bouchee maintained that Simes was driven to commit his crimes by the “impulsive pulls and tugs” of a bipolar disorder that went untreated.

“Mr. Simes has been extremely remorseful of his actions,” Bouchee said, adding that he cooperated with police, admitted sole responsibility and never used a weapon.

But Judge McGahey was having none of that, agreeing with prosecutor Rebekah Melnick (JD ’04) that Simes had stalked his victims, planned his crimes, and terrorized the DU community and the city as a whole because he felt “thrilled by it.”

“You didn’t just steal laptops and jewelry and telephones and iPods,” McGahey said. “You stole safety, you stole comfort, you stole joy. Home means something to people in this country. It is a place of refuge, a place of safety. You ripped that away from these people. And you terrified them while you did it.”

Simes, shackled and handcuffed throughout the proceedings, listened without apparent emotion to a litany of written statements that spoke of the ongoing trauma suffered by the victims of his burglaries, some of whom he had confronted in their beds.

When the time came to speak, Simes addressed the court briefly and was very subdued. “I want the community to know I’m sorry,” he said.

Judge McGahey wasn’t moved.

“All the good things said by people who love him don’t hold a candle to what Mr. Simes did to the people around DU.”

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