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Colorado man sentenced to life without parole for murder of mountain bike pioneer Mike Rust

Published December 14, 2017
Still from Outside Television video.

SAGUACHE, Colo. (BRAIN) — A Colorado district judge has sentenced Charles M. Gonzales to two life sentences without parole for the murder of Michael Rust. Rust, was a racer and design pioneer in the early days of mountain biking in Colorado's high country. He also was once the co-owner of Colorado Cyclery, a bike shop in Salida.

Rust disappeared in 2009 after discovering his home had been burglarized. He called a friend to say he was going to follow some tracks he thought the burglar had left on his property. The case was a mystery until Rust's remains were found on a nearby ranch in January; Gonzales, who was already in jail on unrelated charges, was arrested for the murder in June. 

Judge Jane Tidball sentenced Gonzales to two life sentences without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder without deliberation and first-degree felony murder. She also sentenced him to 12 years for burglary, 18 months for tampering with evidence and 12 months for both theft and abuse of a corpse, to run concurrently.

At a sentencing hearing, Rust's sister, Mary Anne Crandall, told Tidball, "The time for regret is long past. Charles Gonzales is a gang member wannabe, an evil murderer who has never taken responsibility. My parents both died without knowing what happened to their son. Two brothers died before Mike; we are no strangers to sorrow."

Gonzales apologized to the Rust family, saying, "I didn't mean to hurt him. I am sorry for what happened to his body — that was a horrible thing to do. I will pray for the Rust family." His public defender later told reporters that an appeal is likely.

Outside Television produced a video about Rust and his disappearance in 2016 (below).

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