Woman Convicted of Murder, Heads to Prison

By Dougald MacDonald ,

The woman who killed climber Jack Mileski in 1997 has been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. At a trial in 1998, Claire Walsh, an ex-girlfriend of Mileski’s, was found to have shot Mileski as he slept, but her murder conviction was overturned on appeal because of technical problems with the prosecution's case. Last month in Colorado Springs, Walsh again pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a jury decided to send her to prison for life. Mileski was a prominent and well-liked climber of the 1980s and early 1990s in the Shawangunks, the Austin, Texas, area, and eventually Colorado Springs, where he worked as a high school English teacher. He is credited with originating — or at least popularizing — the term “beta” for describing moves on a climb. Scott Witteveen, the jury foreman in the new trial, said, “Sitting in that courtroom for two weeks, hearing from Jack’s family and climbing friends, you get to know someone. My condolences go out to all of you who knew and climbed with Jack — he was obviously a very special person.”

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