An Aurora man who strangled and killed his fiancé faces life in prison after an Arapahoe County District Court jury found him guilty of her death.
The jury deliberated four hours before announcing they had found Sterling Dwayne Austin, 58, guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Aurora Coleman, who was 23 when she was killed.
“All murders are acts of lawlessness and evil, but there is something particularly torturous about strangling a person to death, feeling them struggle to live and watching the life drain from their faces at less than arms-length for up to five minutes. Five minutes,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “This is why we build prisons. Our office had eight murder trials in 2018. This is the 15th murder trial in our courts this year already.”
On Jan. 7, 2017, Austin called 911 to report Coleman needed medical assistance. First-responders found her deceased in Austin’s car.
Austin told police he thought she had taken drugs and passed out. He said he was afraid to call for help earlier because he did not want to get her in trouble.
But 12 hours prior to the 911 call, the police learned a witness reported seeing a man in that car punching and choking a woman. The man drove off before police arrived.
The coroner determined Coleman had been strangled, and the evidence led to murder charges against Austin.
“The defendant claimed he loved and cared about Ms. Coleman, but his actions showed otherwise,” said Deputy District Attorney Casey Brown, who prosecuted the case with Chief Deputy District Attorney Victoria Klingensmith. “The defendant made no effort to summon medical assistance and drove around with Ms. Coleman’s deceased body for 12 hours before attempting to mislead responders.”
Jurors convicted Austin on April 11 of one count of first-degree murder after deliberation. Sentencing is set for June 6. The statutorily madated sentence for that count is life in prison without the possibility of parole.