Four get lengthy prison sentences in botched marijuana robbery that led to murder of Loveland man

  • Joshua Binns

    Denver District Attorney’s Office, supplied

    Joshua Binns

  • Seth Binns

    Denver District Attorney’s Office, supplied

    Seth Binns

  • Ryan Arellano

    Denver District Attorney’s Office

    Ryan Arellano

  • Mackenzie Fay

    Denver District Attorney’s Office, supplied

    Mackenzie Fay

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A Denver district judge on Friday described a botched marijuana robbery as a goofy, crazy caper that did not make sense to a rational, sober person. Then he sentenced four defendants to prison for their roles in the robbery that led to a murder.

“It was almost like a game, a TV show, a reality show,” Judge William Robbins said. “It always amazes me when people say, “I’m going to get a gun, but I don’t intend to hurt anyone.’ Guns are for hurting people, period. Killing people, period. What on Earth did you people think was going to happen?”

Robbins sentenced Joshua Scott Binns, 24, to 48 years in prison for second-degree murder. Binns shot and killed Charles Polzin on Nov. 8, 2016, during a scheme to rob Polzin of his marijuana. Polzin’s son, Josh, was shot eight times but survived.

“There are just no words to express how cold your actions were, Mr. Binns,” Robbins said.

Seth Michael Binns, 24, was sentenced to 32 years in prison for arranging the deal and accompanying his brother to the robbery. Ryan Arellano, 25, was sentenced to 24 years for providing the gun and the car the Binns used in the robbery, and Mackenzie Fay, 24, was sentenced to 24 years for arranging the deal on social media.

The four made arrangements through Facebook and text messages to buy 10 pounds of marijuana from Charles Polzin, a 50-year-old father of three, and his son. The Polzins, who lived in Loveland, agreed to meet the Binn brothers in Denver to sell the marijuana. When they met at a designated location in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, Joshua Binns asked Charles Polzin, “Hey, you ain’t gonna rob me, are ya?” When Charles Polzin asked the same question, Joshua Binns started shooting.

In asking for maximum sentences, Joe Morales, chief deputy district attorney, acknowledged the 4/20 festival taking place just two blocks from the courthouse.

“Send a message, a deterrent to Denver, including the ones up the street right now: Don’t engage in this behavior,” Morales said. “You shouldn’t engage on either sides of these transactions because you’re going to lose your life or lose your freedom.”

Friday’s hearing was rife with drama as Denver Sheriff Department deputies had to separate the defendants in the courtroom, taking the unusual step of having Arellano sitting at the prosecutor’s table and the Binn brothers sitting on opposite ends of the jury box.

Joshua Binns was removed from the room before the hearing because of an outburst. He returned wearing chains around his waist.

Two people left the courtroom midhearing and got into a fight in the hallway, leading deputies to rush out to stop it. When the hearing ended, Robbins ordered the audience to leave in separate groups, and deputies were deployed in the hallways and plaza outside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse.

Tears fell as the Polzins told the judge how their lives had been wrecked by the shooting. They spoke of alcohol and drug abuse and suicide attempts caused by their grief. Josh Polzin, a heroin addict, relapsed after the shooting. On Friday, he testified while wearing an orange Larimer County jail jumpsuit.

“I sat there and watched as the defendant, Josh Binns, shot Dad with no hesitation,” said Josh Polzin, who blames himself for the crime.

When Joshua Binns apologized to the Polzin family, he took responsibility but said he did not know why he pulled the trigger. He told Josh Polzin it wasn’t his fault.

“It was me,” Joshua Binns said. “I am to blame. I’m sorry, bro.”

The Polzins described a husband and father who had a boisterous laugh, who was willing to get up in the middle of the night to fix a broken car and who would take in his children’s friends if they needed a place to spend the night. Courtney Polzin said her father was the kind of man who rode motorcycles but would carry her glittery gym bag at cheer competitions.

“They took the person who made my family a family,” Courtney Polzin said.

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