The Centennial man accused of killing and dismembering his mother is set to stand trial.
Arapahoe County Chief Judge William Sylvester ruled June 3 that sufficient evidence exists for Ari Misha Liggett, 24, to go to trial. Sylvester set arraignment for July 15.
Liggett was charged with first-degree murder for the Oct. 14, 2012, death of his mother after law enforcement officials allegedly found him with body parts in the back of his vehicle.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Craig Clark testified in Liggett’s preliminary hearing that the victim, 56-year-old Beverly Liggett, had told him she lived in fear of her son, and that she once awoke during the night to find him standing next to her bed holding an ax.
Sworn statements given to investigators by family members also said she was afraid of her son’s interest in chemicals and would “never allow them in the house.”
Further testimony paints the younger Liggett as a self-absorbed young man who had a love of money and yearned for the “finer things in life.”
Clark testified that police reports show in the hours after Beverly Liggett’s death, wire transfers totaling $40,000 had been made from her savings account to a checking account and annotated “Ari is meant for great things” and “Investing in Ari.”
Surveillance video and a trace of the computer’s IP address indicate the transfers were made from a terminal at Koelbel Library in Centennial.
Autopsy reports states Beverly Liggett died of cyanide poisoning. Cyanide was found in her body, as well as in the family cat.
Clark confirmed that during an initial search of the home, investigators found a shot glass containing potassium cyanide in the refrigerator, traces of blood, vomit, and a handsaw and knife in the dishwasher of Liggett’s Centennial home.
However, defense attorney Jennifer Ahnstedt argued that much of the evidence presented was circumstantial and that lack of fingerprints and DNA analysis of vomit found at the home was not enough to prove her client poisoned his mother.
In March 2010, Liggett was arrested at a commercial shipping office in Arapahoe County on an unrelated weapons charge, and later forced a seven-hour evacuation of a Boulder homeless shelter after he told police he was storing hazardous chemicals there.
He pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and possession of a dangerous weapon. Court documents state he received a four-year deferred sentence and a year of probation.
Liggett’s father, Ronald Liggett of Westminster, has gone on record with local media stating that his son is mentally ill.
Neighbors who knew the victim said the family had aggressively tried to get the defendant help after his 2010 arrest, but “couldn’t find any place that would take him.” A court-ordered competency exam conducted in February deemed Liggett competent to stand trial.