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CO- Austin rapist commits suicide in Colorado

7-15-2005 Colorado:

Bennett linked to six rapes in Colorado, one in Austin in '95

A Travis County fugitive who was being held in a Boulder, Colorado jail was found dead in his cell Wednesday with a sheet tied around his neck. Boulder County prison officials are waiting for an autopsy to confirm that Bradford Thomas Wagner's (36) death was a suicide.

Wagner, a real estate agent and former porn actor who, according to The Associated Press, took the alias Tim Barnett, was linked to six rapes in Boulder and Lakewood, Colorado and the 1995 rape of an Austin woman. The case in Austin remained unsolved for nine years until Wagner's arrest in Colorado in June 2004. Upon arrest, Wagner's DNA was entered into a national database which linked Wagner to the Austin rape.

"The jail staff said he was a model inmate," said Lt. Phil West of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. "He had been in the jail for 13 months and [was] not deemed to be a suicide risk."

West said the rate that deputies check on inmates "depends on the level of security at the modules."

Wagner stayed in a "close security" module for medium-to-high risk offenders and was usually checked up on every half-hour, West said.

A Boulder District Court judge formally dismissed the cases against Wagner Thursday morning, according to Boulder Police Detective Chuck Heidel.

The Austin case remains open. The Travis County District Clerk's office could not be reached for comment at press time. ..more.. by Daniel lai

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