The Oregon man accused of helping the founder of a yoga company pose as an FBI agent to cuff, assault and threaten employees at a Boulder web-design firm has taken a plea deal, leaving his co-defendant to stand trial by himself.
John Anthony Sweeney, 34, and Daniel Shea were originally charged with first-degree burglary, attempted aggravated robbery, extortion, impersonating an officer, kidnapping, second-degree assault, third-degree assault and felony menacing.
Both were set for a joint trial Feb. 11, but Sweeney has now pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree kidnapping, a Class 3 felony, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the other counts.
He is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 22, and remains in custody on $100,000 bond. Class 3 felonies have a presumptive sentencing range of four to 12 years in prison.
In the meantime, Shea, 46, has switched defense attorneys and will now be the sole defendant in a one-week trial now scheduled for April 15. He also remains in custody at the Boulder County Jail on $1 million bond.
Prosecutors did not say if Sweeney testifying in Shea’s trial was one of the stipulations of the plea agreement.
“Our office is working very closely with the victims and they agree with this guilty plea for Mr. Sweeney,” said Shannon Carbone, a spokeswoman with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.
According to an arrest affidavit, two workers at the Goozmo web-design firm in Boulder were in their office at 1645 Canyon Blvd. on Feb. 9, 2018, when they took a meeting with Sweeney, who at the time only identified himself as “Davy.”
The two men told police that Shea then entered the building dressed in an “FBI uniform” — described as a raid vest with tactical gear, including a Taser, a knife and a gun in a holster — and along with Sweeney handcuffed the two men.
Daniel Shea (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy photo)
The two Goozmo employees said Shea had contracted them for a project involving his company, Yogible, which described itself as a yoga travel and teaching company.
According to the affidavit, Shea said the $30,000 he spent on the project had “ruined his life,” and demanded Goozmo repay him. The two employees told police Shea used a stun gun on them and threatened them with both a handgun and a knife — and said he’d hired people to kill their families.
Shea demanded $50,000 from the men — $30,000 to reimburse him for the project and $20,000 to pay for the hitmen he claimed he’d hired, though police do not believe any hitmen were actually hired.
Shea — who is from Oregon — was arrested in Lyons two days after the incident. Sweeney was arrested in Oregon in April 2018 and extradited back to Colorado.
Police said Shea befriended Sweeney at a mixed martial arts gym in Oregon and recruited him to assist with the attack. Sweeney told police he thought he was getting paid to help pull off a “sick joke on Shea’s friends.”
Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, email@example.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars