David Wayne Reathman, 65 of Golden, was given a 48-year sentence on Oct. 2 for the murder of his wife, Barbara Reathman, 70. Reathman pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge attached with 48-year sentence based on an agreement that was reached earlier this year.
On March 25, 2013 Reathman strangled his wife while she slept, and later tried to kill himself as part of a murder-suicide attempt he had planned for weeks, according to a Golden city police report. He admitted to police that he and his wife had financial problems due to a gambling addiction which caused them to lose their $3,000 a month pension checks. He told police he planned to murder his wife, and then kill himself as a way to escape their financial issues.
The report states Reathman first tried to commit suicide by taping a plastic bag over his head, but when the attempt failed, he later walked up trails to a mountain where he slept for three nights, hoping to freeze to death. He eventually walked back down the mountain along the Clear Creek path to the Golden police department, where he sat on a bench outside for three hours before entering the police station and turning himself in.
Reathman and his wife were married for 37 years.
Barbara Reathman’s family attended the sentencing. “I have a hole in my heart that will never mend,” Julie Campbell, Barbara’s Reathman’s daughter said during her statement to the judge. “She was wonderful.” Campbell was dressed in Bronco’s fan gear in memory of her mother who was a dedicated Broncos fan. “She would be very proud on how they are doing,” Campbell said.
Other than Barbara Reathman’s family, no direct family showed for David Reathman. His two sisters wrote a letter which was read by attorneys during the sentencing hearing describing the former corrections officer as kind and loving. “Wayne was always such a quiet, calm person,” Debbie Schinski, youngest sister of David Reathman wrote.
“I’m sorry to everybody,” David Reathman said. “It’s been 191 days and I miss her too,” Reathman said while coming to tears.
Tamara Russell, district court judge presiding over the hearing said she has not come across a case like this before. “Sometimes people live good and honorable lives, and then they make decisions you can’t comprehend,” Judge Russell said. “I will never, never, never understand the motive behind the senseless death of Barbara Reathman.”