Dead Reckoning

Only Michael Furlong knows how his wife fell to her death. But the authorities know this isn't the first time he's lost a mate.

Instead, the DA cut a deal with Furlong, a man with no official prior record. In exchange for pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide, Furlong is expected to get probation when he's sentenced July 30.

Prosecutor DeMuth finds the projected plea bargain satisfactory. Probation can be open-ended and fairly restrictive, he points out. Besides, he adds, if Furlong did go to trial and was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, he would draw no more than a three-year sentence and become eligible for parole in a year and a half. Under the plea bargain, he will remain under supervision longer.

Deanna's friends worry about the danger that Furlong may pose to other women. "It's not my role to control my clients' futures," says attorney Schild. "It's my role to ensure that they aren't punished for past crimes they never committed.

"There was a genuine question as to whether this was a domestic tragedy or a more serious crime."

Michael Furlong, who has full custody of four-year-old Jessica, has been staying with his family in Colorado Springs. He did not return calls made by Westword to his father's house.

The thing that was going through my head over and over and over when she was laying in the hospital was, 'What were her last thoughts?'" says Terry Roberts of her friend, Deanna. "Was she afraid for her life? I don't want that picture in my head. That she was laying there just petrified. And was he kicking her and beating her? You don't know. And I didn't want that to be her last memories."

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