August 4, 2016 9:06 am
Updated: August 5, 2016 1:46 am

B.C. man in Denver court charged in alleged group sex assault

WATCH ABOVE: A B.C. man made his first appearance in a Colorado court on Thursday. Colby Messer is facing six charges of sexual assault related to a brutal attack on an American woman, in a Denver hotel last fall. Rumina Daya was in the courtroom and has some of the details. (WARNING: Graphic details)

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A preliminary hearing took place today in a Denver courtroom for a 30-year-old man from Port Alberni who has been charged with six counts of sexual assault.

Colby James Messer did not answer questions from Global News as he entered the courtroom this morning, and the hearing has been put over until August 29.

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Messer was arrested last March when he returned to the United States in connection with a sexual assault on a woman in Denver in November 2015.

He is the only one who has been charged in the case that is alleged to have taken place in Denver’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Messer and his three friends, all from Vancouver Island, were in the city for a Denver Broncos game, according to the sworn affidavit of Denver Police Department Detective Steve Bishop. Messer allegedly met the 27-year-old victim the night before, when she was celebrating her birthday with a friend, according to court documents.

“Her intention was to be celebrating, and instead she becomes a victim of this horrible crime,” said Denver District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

The woman remembered drinking in a bar with Messer and two other suspects, according to Bishop’s affidavit, but did not recall travelling to a hotel room.

“The victim stated that she woke in their hotel room and felt as if she had been sexually assaulted and stated that she did not consent,” reads Bishop’s affidavit for Messer’s arrest.

“This is a sexual assault not just that involves multiple suspects, but involves objects in a hotel room,” said Kimbrough.

She was allegedly sexually assaulted with a TV remote control, a telephone receiver and the base of a lamp.

(The full court documents, which are graphic in nature, can be viewed here)

But on the first day of the preliminary hearing, the defense questioned the credibility of the victim’s evidence. A witness testified he met the victim on an online dating site, less than 35 minutes after the alleged sex assaults, and told the court the victim didn’t appear to be in any distress.

The four men allegedly flew back to Vancouver on Nov. 16, 2015, but Messer returned to the U.S. in March, and travelled to Las Vegas where he planned to propose to his girlfriend. That’s when he was arrested.

“This is a class 2 felony,” said Denver criminal lawyer Colin Bresee. “It is the first and only step below first degree murder.”

“The severity of this type of case, in our state, unlike Canada, is an indeterminate sentence. It will start off with a presumptive range of how long he will have to spend in the Department of Corrections prior to being eligible for parole. The range he will have to do is 29 to 53 years per count, up to the rest of his natural life.”

WATCH: Thirty-year-old Colby James Messer from Port Alberni is in a Denver court today for the preliminary heading ahead of his sexual assault trial. Rumina Daya reports. 

Messer is out on $300,000 bail. He has been outfitted with a GPS tracker and he’s not allowed to leave Denver. He arrived at court on Thursday morning with his mom and dad and a team of investigators. He did not speak to reporters.

Bresee said this case may not be as strong as it appears on paper however.

“DNA does not mean rape,” he said. “DNA means DNA. If I was to reach over and touch your hand, for seven days, we would find my DNA on your hand. There wouldn’t be a problem. That does not mean you and I had non-consensual sex.”

The identities of the other three suspects in the case – Tyson Brassard, Christopher Sander and Ryan Calabrese – were named in court today.

Two are living in Port Alberni, one in the Lower Mainland, and none of them have criminal records. While the three haven’t been charged with any offenses in the United States, they could still be extradited, as Denver Police continue to investigate the case.

-With files from Rumina Daya and Justin McElroy

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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