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Intoxicated graduate wanders into home, is shot, faces charges

May 26, 2012|By Dalina Castellanos

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Boulder, Colo., couple Timothy Justice and Doreen Orion at first thought they'd been roused from their sleep by a raccoon.

The bedroom door leading outside had been closed but not locked; that was usually enough to keep critters out -- but maybe one had found a way in. Then the couple saw a human figure coming toward them.

They shouted, warning the person to leave, that they had a gun.

The intruder seemed undeterred, continuing to head for the couple.  Justice pulled out a gun and shot into the darkness.

When the couple turned on the lights, they found a highly intoxicated young woman they didn't know on the floor with a gunshot wound to her hip, according to Boulder police.

The woman, identified as Zoey Ripple, 21, had recently graduated from University of Colorado-Boulder, the Associated Press said. Now she's hospitalized and facing felony trespassing charges.

On a 911 call released by Denver television station KDVR, Orion can be heard breathing heavily and telling the dispatcher: “She just walked – she came in and we started screaming at her to leave and she kept coming in.”

Ripple's attorney Colette Cribari expressed disappointment that the district attorney's office had decided to file charges against her client, saying that the incident was "out of character."

"She didn't enter the house with any intent of committing a crime or harming anyone," Cribari told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.

But the incident may have been especially alarming for Orion. A psychiatrist, like her husband, she'd once been stalked by a former patient, a woman.

The patient even moved to the same Boulder neighborhood to be near her, a 1999 Psychiatric News article reported. The patient repeatedly left gifts and notes on the couple’s property -- even taping items to their windows, violating a restraining order dozens of times.

In this instance, the district attorney said, the point of the trespassing charges was to get alcohol treatment for the accused. Preliminary tests indicate that Ripple's blood-alcohol level was above 0.2% -- more than twice the legal limit for motorists -- at the time of the incident, the Daily Camera reported.

Ripple would have had to have consumed a substantial amount of alcohol to reach that level of intoxication, according to California State University Bakersfield’s blood alcohol content calculator.

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dalina.castellanos@latimes.com

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