Sheriff: 70-year-old man arrested in prosecutor’s killing

A reporter at a Denver television station contacted law enforcement in February after a tipster provided information about the June 7, 1999 murder of Rebecca Bartee.


By Kathleen Foody, Associated Press

A 70-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of a Colorado prosecutor more than 18 years after police found her dead in the bathtub of her apartment, officials said Wednesday.

Robert Williams was arrested Tuesday and faces a murder charge in the death of Rebecca Bartee in June, 1999, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Court records did not list an attorney for Williams, who was being held without bond at the county’s detention center.

Williams was living in Bartee’s apartment complex at the time of her death and still lives in the building in the Denver suburb of Centennial, authorities said. They did not disclose additional details and the arrest warrant affidavit for Williams was sealed by a judge.

Investigators have been working toward the arrest since February, when a reporter at Denver television station KCNC-TV connected law enforcement with someone who claimed to have information that could help investigators still trying to solve Bartee’s murder in June of 1999, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Julie Brooks.

According to the station , the man contacted reporter Brian Maass in February and said he also lived in the apartment complex at the time of Bartee’s murder. The station reported that the man said he recalled Williams leaving Bartee’s apartment around the time of her death.

Bartee was 41 and worked for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office with a focus on parents who failed to make court-ordered child support payments.

She went home after work on a Friday and co-workers got worried when she did not return to the office on Monday. Some went to her home to retrieve a case file and found her body, police have said.

The Denver Post previously reported that investigators initially believed Bartee had killed herself because antidepressant medication was found near her body.

Police later concluded that someone had killed Bartee, leaving pills in her apartment’s bathroom and a full wine glass on a table.

A coroner found hand marks on Bartee’s neck and did not find alcohol or medication in her system during an autopsy.

The arrest so many years after Bartee died illustrates the importance of people giving information to authorities about criminal cases, no matter how old they are, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“New leads may be the only way to solve these crimes,” the statement said. “We, along with the victim’s family, are thankful someone came forward with new information, even after 18 years.”

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