A man who stabbed a would-be robber to death in late 2020 was sentenced to 3½ years in prison on Thursday after a judge acknowledged “certain aspects of self-defense” in the case.
Samson Traub, 23, pleaded no contest in February to voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery in separate crimes committed less than a month apart in 2020 and 2021.
Traub fatally stabbed 46-year-old Carlos Montaño in December 2020 outside a Maverik gas station near Jefferson and Interstate 25.
Before handing down the sentence, 2nd Judicial District Judge Bruce Fox said the circumstances of the killing explained why Traub was offered a voluntary manslaughter plea.
“I agree that the homicide that took place on Dec. 27, 2020 — there were certain aspects of self defense,” Fox said. “It looks like substance abuse was involved, and it appears that there was some kind of aggression going on between everyone involved.”
But Fox said he was concerned that Traub committed an armed robbery less than a month after Montaño’s killing.
Traub’s attorney, Heather LeBlanc, said Thursday that shortly before the fatal stabbing, Traub and two companions had seen Montaño — armed with a hatchet — rob a Circle K convenience store in the 5500 block of Alameda NE.
Less than an hour later, Traub and his companions arrived at the Maverik store and saw Montaño pull in moments later, LeBlanc said. Their efforts to prevent a second robbery led to Montaño’s death, she said.
“Mr. Traub had an extremely strong self-defense case and we were prepared to go to trial on this case,” LeBlanc said. Traub accepted a plea agreement to take responsibility both for the killing and the later armed robbery, she said.
At the hearing, LeBlanc played security video that showed Montaño’s stabbing outside the Maverik gas station.
“We can see Mr. Montaño approaching the convenience store with the same hatchet that he had just used to rob the other convenience store,” LeBlanc said. “So Mr. Traub again tried to distract Mr. Montaño so that the clerk could be warned.”
The clerk locked the doors to the store, LeBlanc said. During the encounter, Traub drew a knife and fatally stabbed Montaño, she said.
Scarcely a month after Montaño’s killing, Traub used a firearm to rob a Speedway convenience store on Jan. 22, 2021, according to court records.
Shortly before he was sentenced, Traub acknowledged that he had a substance abuse problem at the time of the crimes. Traub also apologized to members of Montano’s family.
“No matter what the circumstances were that night, a precious life was taken,” Traub said. “No matter what I say or do, nothing can change that fact. And I’m sorry that you will have to go through this tragedy.”
Traub has remained in the Metropolitan Detention Center since his arrest in February 2021.