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For False Hair-in-Food Claim, Inmate Faces 24 Years Behind Bars

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on August 12, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Colorado inmate accused of falsely complaining about finding a hair in his food is facing felony charges after police say he planted the hair himself.

Earlier this year, Summit County jail inmate Ray Wolfe told jail staff that he found a long, dark hair mixed in with the beef stroganoff he was served for dinner, reports Denver's KCNC-TV. Jail officials launched an investigation to discover the source of the hair -- and found surveillance footage that they claim shows Wolfe placing a hair in his own tray.

Wolfe may have bit off a little more than he can chew, however. He is now facing up to 24 additional years behind bars for his allegedly false claim. What is he being charged with?

Evidence Tampering, False Reporting Alleged

Wolfe is being charged with obstruction of justice by tampering with physical evidence. Under Colorado law, tampering with physical evidence includes knowingly making, presenting, or offering any false or altered physical evidence with intent that it be introduced in the pending or prospective official proceeding. Evidence tampering is a Class 6 felony.

Wolfe is also being charged with false reporting. The Colorado false reporting statute covers not just false reporting of crimes but also "other incidents within their official concern."

Habitual Criminal Enhancements

In addition to the obstruction charges, Wolfe is being charged with attempting to influence a public servant and a bail bond violation. But the reason he is facing so much additional time is Colorado's habitual criminal sentence enhancement statute.

Under the statute, a person who qualifies as a habitual criminal by having sufficient prior felony convictions can be sentenced to three times the maximum sentence for any subsequent felony, or in some cases life in prison.

Wolfe, who maintains that his hair-in-the-stroganoff story is true, is scheduled to go to trial on the charges later this month.

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