Man pleads guilty in Mt. Herman hatchet threat case

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette/KKTV) - The man accused of threatening cyclists with a hatchet on Mount Herman near Monument pleaded guilty to the threats Friday morning.

Last month, prosecutor Pam Ratigan told a judge that she had offered a plea bargain to the defendant. The defense extended a counteroffer, which Ratigan said she hadn't been able to evaluate because she had been in trial on a different case.

Nations, 32, was scheduled to enter a plea on charges of trespassing and menacing earlier this week. Instead, his arraignment was postponed to allow further talks, Ratigan confirmed to 11 News partner The Gazette. On Friday, Nations pleaded guilty to the menacing and weapons charges.

He had an immediate sentencing and will receive three years of supervised probation for the threat. The judge ruled that if he violates those terms, he will serve a two-year prison sentence. He will also serve an additional 15 months in prison if he violates the terms of his probation for his weapons charge.

No mention was made again that authorities are preparing charges against Nations in any other crimes, including the shooting death of Timothy Watkins of Palmer Lake, whose body was found Sept. 17 just off a popular hiking trail on Mount Herman.

Nations, who had been squatting with his family at primitive campsites in the popular recreation area, is accused of threatening people with a hatchet in the days before Watkins' Sept. 14 disappearance, though details remain murky. He hasn't been accused of wrongdoing in the Watkins case.

Nations is also a person of interest in the Delphi, Indiana murder case of two girls.