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Man gets prison sentence for 2017 RTD assault

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By Deborah Swearingen

The man who bit off a piece of an RTD bus driver’s ear outside of Southwest Plaza in early 2017 will spend 20 years in prison.

Richard Allen Mathis, 40, was sentenced Thursday after he pleaded guilty to first- and second-degree assault on Aug. 18. Jefferson County Judge Diego Hunt called the assault – Mathis’ fourth felony conviction – “savage” during the sentencing hearing.

According to a press release from the Jeffco District Attorney’s office, when RTD driver Kolio Mintchev reached his last stop of the night at Southwest Plaza on Feb. 24, 2017, he asked Mathis to exit the bus. Mathis, who was reportedly high on methamphetamines, obliged but got back on as Mintchev was checking the bus. He punched Mintchev in the face and stabbed him 10 times with a box cutter.

Mintchev fought back. Although he wrestled the box cutter away, Mathis bit off a piece of Mintchev’s ear in the process. Ultimately, Mintchev gained control of the box cutter and locked Mathis on the bus while waiting for Jeffco Sheriff’s deputies to arrive.

Mathis continued to be aggressive and combative, kicking the deputies who took him into custody.