News Release|

On Monday, May 6, Matthew Buchanan, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the 2022 fatal stabbing of his mother.

On April 26, 2022 around 2:30 p.m., Castle Rock police and fire personnel were dispatched to a residential structure fire on Dove Valley Place near Paint Pony Circle.

Emergency responders were able to rescue one family member, a paraplegic man who was inside the home and could not get out on his own. In the kitchen, officers found Elizabeth Bjorlow, the suspect’s mother, deceased on the kitchen floor. The investigation revealed she had suffered trauma to her face, head and hands. Investigators noted that her clothes appeared to have been set on fire and were partially burned. The injuries sustained were not consistent with an accidental fall and her death was ruled a homicide.

Officers were able to view surveillance footage from a neighbor’s doorbell camera which showed a white minivan leaving the scene shortly before the fire was reported. Buchanan was known to drive the same white van, according to family members.

The paraplegic man was able to answer basic questions from investigators and indicated there was some type of verbal disturbance between Buchanan and his mother prior to the house fire.

An arrest warrant was issued for Buchanan and he was captured a week later after fleeing to Monroe County, Florida. He was eventually extradited to the Douglas County Jail and booked on multiple charges, including murder.

On May 6, 2024, Buchanan agreed to plead guilty to the following offenses:

Second-Degree Murder

Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder in the First-Degree

Criminal Attempt to Commit Aggravated Cruelty to Animals  

The criminal attempt to commit aggravated cruelty to animals charge was related to the defendant leaving dogs inside the home while the fire was set.

“It’s despicable to learn a son would kill his own mother in a brutal act of violence,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “This plea avoids a lengthy, gruesome, and emotional trial. I’m advocating for the maximum sentence under Colorado law to protect the community from this defendant.”

A second-degree murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of 48 years in the Department of Corrections.

Buchanan will be sentenced by Douglas County Judge Ryan J. Stuart at 9:00 a.m. on July 24, 2024.

Matthew Buchanan


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