Murder for Hire: Colorado Family Recalls Living in Fear


"I was out of town on business and I was talking to Bob on the phone, and he said to me, 'Things are getting bad, and I have this feeling that we need to take some bigger steps and measures to protect ourselves,'" said Tammy Rafferty. "It was just a day too late."

Amara Wells' sister, Melissa Brown, said as soon as she was told police were at the Raffertys' house, she knew what had happened to her sister.

"I got a phone call from a mutual friend," said Melissa Brown. "She said, 'Tammy's house is on the news!' and right then I knew. I said, 'He did it!'"

Sgt. Jason Weaver of the Douglas County, Colo., Sheriff's department, knowing the history of the Wells' relationship, immediately pegged Chris Wells as the chief suspect. The only problem was that Wells was in jail in a different county for an unrelated drug charge.

That news didn't stop Weaver from keeping tabs on Wells, which revealed a web of plans detailing how Wells wanted his wife and family murdered.

The Gruesome Scene

Immediately after the killings, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office got a 911 call from a neighbor's home and responded to the Rafferty house.

"Once they got inside, they found a deceased male, a deceased female and the house had been lit on fire," Weaver said.

Weaver got a call at home telling him of a gruesome murder scene at a Castle Rock home.

During pre-trial hearings in 2011, Weaver testified that he entered the home and found teeth scattered on the main floor that led to Robert Rafferty's body. Weaver said he found Rafferty in a pool of blood, shot in the chest, beaten and stabbed in the neck multiple times.

Weaver then found Amara Wells' body covered in blood near stairs, he testified. He said he couldn't see any gunshot wounds at first because there was so much blood. But he noticed her neck was slit open.

Weaver saw obvious signs of a struggle inside the Rafferty home. He later concluded Bob Rafferty fought to his death to protect Amara Wells' then-6-year-old daughter, who was inside the home and watched the killings.

"One of the most beautiful things we heard shortly after was from the sheriff, who said Bob was an incredible hero that night, that he fought with everything he had," said Tammy Rafferty.

The other hero of the night seemed to be the 6-year-old girl who escaped after watching a man kill her mom and uncle.

"I have never seen a child go through such trauma and be so strong," said Weaver. "That little girl is absolutely nothing more than amazing."

Weaver was convinced that Chris Wells, despite being in jail, had something to do with the killings.

That hunch led investigators to a Colorado Springs, Colo., car dealership where Chris Wells worked, Rocky Mountain Auto Dealers. There, they met Josiah Sher, who was physically wounded with a mark on his forehead that looked like it could match a ring Bob Rafferty was wearing when he was killed.

Sher was taken into the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for questioning. In a taped interview between Weaver and Sher lasting more than two-hours, Sher admitted he killed Rafferty and Wells.

Sher said he had been approached about a week before the killings by a man named Micah Woody who bore an offer allegedly from Christopher Wells, though Sher said he never met Wells or spoke with him directly.

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