Testimony of detectives in the preliminary hearing of Clenon Redd, 36, suspected of playing a role in the Dec. 8 homicide of 59-year-old Charlotte Williams of Arvada painted a grim picture of life along the gritty streets of Jeffco.

Williams was found in grave condition in a Safeway parking lot on West Colfax Avenue after being shot in the chest. Lifesaving measures were performed at the scene, but she was pronounced dead at 1:53 that afternoon.

During the hearing, Lakewood Homicide Detectives laid out their version of events based on the criminal investigation and statements of witnesses. At the end of the nearly seven hour proceeding, Judge Laura Tighe decided Redd should be held over for arraignment. 

Hard-drug use, cheap motels, ex-cons forming halfway-house friendships, a robbery gone bad, a witness with multiple felony charges and a dead victim. 

But it’s not modern-day film-noir, although in an ironic twist the crime was captured on crisp surveillance video in living color. Williams, alleged to have lived a hardscrabble life to the end, is just one of the latest to meet her demise alongside a stretch of asphalt known far and wide for trouble. 

In fact, according to John Romero, Public Information Officer for Lakewood PD, there were 19,245 service calls on Colfax between Sheridan Boulevard and Kipling Street during 2019 and 2020 alone. Those numbers reflect both Lakewood Police and West Metro Fire calls. During the same timespan, there were eight homicides. It’s worth noting that during 10 months of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic caused long periods of closure for many Colfax businesses. 

This crime, unlike many, can’t be traced to one of the motels along Colfax. Instead, the day’s events began at a Super 8 in Wheat Ridge. But the Colfax motel problem was the subject of a neighborhood Zoom meeting attended by Lakewood Ward 2 City Council member Sharon Vincent.

Vincent introduced the hotel / motel ordinance the city hopes will help clean up some of the Colfax mess. She said after some Covid-related delays, hearings for offending motels are finally starting to take place. And support for holding those businesses accountable is popular in the community. 

“Neighbors are getting involved,” she said. “And they’re excited to be notified of upcoming motel hearings so they can make their feelings known.”

Vincent said there are other things the Council could consider, like fines for long-time vacant or nuisance properties. And she’s encouraged that grant money awarded to the city should soon be put to use along the corridor between Sheridan Boulevard and Pierce Street to improve and increase the amount of street lights.

In March, there will be a hearing for violations at the Trail’s End Motel.