Do Tell

Notorious Denver informant Mark Tibbs has finked his way through a lot of cases. But can he talk his way out of this one?

"He tried to show [Denver corrections chief John Simonet] a copy of his mittimus that showed he had completed his sentence," says Sheriff's Captain Kevin Kelly. "And I knew from reviewing his file an hour before that it wasn't right. So I went and pulled his file after he showed the copies to Mr. Simonet and I confronted him. I said, 'These documents have obviously been forged.'" Tibbs had nothing to say in response, says Kelly: "I don't think he was prepared to be confronted in that nature."

Tibbs didn't stay long in the jail. He says he was transferred out because his life had been threatened by a man who told him, "Everyone in this jail wants to kill you." Moments after the warning, Tibbs says, flames blasted through the cell doors, burning his legs. "I wrote a kite [note] to the officers, and they put me in the infirmary and kept me there until they sent me to Douglas County," he says.

However, Simonet says he doesn't believe the alleged flame-throwing attack ever occurred. "If there was an attempt on his life and someone tried to torch him," Simonet says, "I would know about it, because we were trying to keep him safe." Even so, Denver couldn't keep Tibbs, because the DA's office wanted him out in the suburbs for his own protection. And Jefferson County didn't want him back. "They said he was a nuisance," Simonet recalls. "Douglas County owed us a favor," and so Tibbs was bounced down to Castle Rock.

Tibbs didn't take well to his new home. He wouldn't dress by the required time in the morning, wouldn't clean his cell, talked back, and stole his disciplinary reports and flushed them down the toilet. The guards finally threw him in the hole, keeping him locked in solitary for days at a time.

Tibbs claims that the ongoing tour of local jails and his time in lockdown are part of an effort to keep him under wraps until he testifies against Morris. But keeping him behind bars, he insists, is putting him in danger. "I testified in the preliminary [for Domena], and now Givens is dead," he observes. "I'm in fear for my life. I'm safer on the street than I am in here."

If that's true, says Lieutenant Dave Weaver of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, it may be as a result of Tibbs's inability to keep from running his mouth. "I wasn't sure at first if he was an informant or not," Weaver says, "because he kept telling everybody that he was. Usually those guys know enough to keep quiet. But he won't."

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