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Deborah Rudibaugh pleads not guilty

Jury trial set for May despite health concerns

By Cayla Vidmar

Deborah Rudibaugh, whose son, Jacob Millison, was murdered in May 2015, pleaded not guilty on Monday to the charges she is accused of in his death, including first degree murder. According to the investigation, on the day Jacob’s remains were discovered on her property in July 2017, Deborah confessed to having shot him in the head while he slept. She has been charged with one count of felony murder in the first degree; one count of felony tampering with a deceased human body; one misdeamenor count of concealing death; and one misdeameanor count of abuse of a corpse.

Deborah admitted to killing Jacob in self defense, saying that Jacob had been upset that she had changed her will, leaving the 700-acre ranch to Stephanie Jackson, Jacob’s sister, and he had been violent toward her, according to the investigation.

Last week’s plea hearing circled around Deborah’s declining health, with court-appointed legal counsel Randolph Canney saying, “She is currently under hospice care. Right now she is stable. We don’t know how long that will continue. We think when she starts to go downhill it will happen fast.” As previously reported in the Crested Butte News, Deborah is suffering from stage four breast cancer. 

The decision to schedule a trial was made more difficult by Deborah’s declining health, and prosecution Jessica Waggoner noted “It’s a difficult position to be in with the medical concerns. At the same time we could be sitting here in six months and still be in the same position.”

With a not-guilty plea, the court determined to move forward and set a two-week jury trial beginning on May 20, 2019.

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