(Golden, CO – May 6, 2021) Jarvis Rondale Gates, DOB 6/15/1981, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison plus 17-and-a-half years for the murder of 32-year-old Rotasha Pryor-Thomas in Lakewood on October 31, 2019.
On November 2, 2019, Lakewood police were called to the Chalet Motel on W. Alameda on a report of a suspicious death. Police found Ms. Pryor-Thomas deceased in the bathtub, with the water running and overflowing onto the floor. The police investigation led to the arrest of Mr. Gates on November 5, 2019. At trial, jurors heard testimony that the victim died of asphyxiation on the night of October 31, 2019.
On April 29, 2021, a Jefferson County jury convicted Gates of First Degree Murder – After Deliberation (F1); First Degree Murder – Felony Murder (F1); Second Degree Kidnapping (F4); and Tampering with Physical Evidence (F6).
The Lakewood Police Department conducted a very thorough investigation that included DNA evidence, fingerprints and cell phone mapping. Surveillance footage from the Motel also played a crucial role in the investigation and trial.
At sentencing, Senior Deputy District Attorney Tyra Forbes told the court, “It is important for the court to know that Mr. Gates does not appear before us as a first-time felon, or a first-time domestic violence offender.” She went on to detail a 2015 case that was eerily similar to what happened to Ms. Pryor-Thomas on the night of October 31, 2019. For that crime in 2015, Jarvis Gates received probation and was required to complete domestic violence treatment, and yet, as Sr. DDA Forbes noted, “he still went on to murder Rotasha.” She asked that in honor of Rotasha’s life, the judge sentence Gates to the maximum sentence.
Dressed in Rotasha’s favorite color of purple, family members also addressed the court and spoke of Rotasha as a mother, daughter, granddaughter, and niece. Tamika Galloway, Rotasha’s aunt, told the court, “Rotasha was the light of our family.”
District Court Judge Philip McNulty commented on the beautiful life that was lost. He sentenced Gates to life without the possibility of parole, plus the maximum 16 years for second-degree Kidnapping and 18 months for Tampering with Physical Evidence, both to be served consecutively to the life sentence.