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From the week of March 16

"Out at Home," by Patricia Calhoun, March 9, 2000

My heart goes out to Loi Nguyen, the subject of Patricia Calhoun's March 9 "Out at Home." We all make mistakes when we are young, and he has owned up to them and paid the price -- seven years behind bars! But it looks like Nguyen's biggest mistake was that he was born in Vietnam, not America. If he were born here, he would be free. If he were born in a country like Mexico, at least he would be back there. But because Vietnam does not want him back, he could wind up behind bars again. For life!

I hope the INS recognizes how unfair this system is and lets Loi Nguyen stay in this country and out of jail.

Dolores Harper
Denver

After reading Calhoun's excellent column, I heard on the news that Pedro Astacio gets to change his plea and stay in the country until a trial (which is after the Rockies' opening day -- as they say, how convenient!). But Loi Nguyen can't change his plea, because he's already been convicted and served his sentence.

I thought this was the land of the free. But you can only be free, it seems, if you have the right lawyers.

Jay O'Riley
via the Internet

"Left for Dead," by Justin Berton, March 9, 2000

Thank you for Justin Berton's well-written article "Left for Dead," in the March 9 issue, about Sharon Conner's plight with the Aurora Police Department. I have seen some of "Aurora's finest" do things that I would not even think about doing, but to hear about their total lack of concern about Terry Mosley until he was charged with murdering Alan Conner is totally criminal! Someone needs to make a complete and thorough investigation of the APD and its policies and practices.

Mike Steiner
via the Internet

The article on Alan Conner is tantamount to how my wife and two daughters were treated when the next-door neighbor, a man, punched my wife in the face. When she and my two then-teenage daughters finished kicking the shit out of the guy, Aurora arrested them and charged them with assault. It just goes to show how unfit that ragtag bunch of blue-suit dummies are.

H. L. Greasham
via the Internet

I'd like to thank you for your article on Alan Conner. It was much more factual than any that appeared in the Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News. My daughter is/was close friends with Alan, Dom and Cal since middle school; all three are/were good kids. Cal has told all of us how he and Dom begged the police to look for Alan up until the point when the ambulance doors were closed on them. Cal and Dom never believed that Alan had gotten away, but as usual, the police don't rush in until all chance of danger has passed -- just like at Columbine.

One thing I'd like to add is that I went with my daughter to the visitation, where I witnessed the most heartbreaking scene, one that I will never forget as long as I live. It was Sharon Conner standing over Alan's casket, stroking his hair and patting his hand, saying to her remaining son and daughter, "He looks good, doesn't he?"

Then a couple of days later, at the funeral, it was standing room only in the sanctuary; hundreds of young people had come to say goodbye to their friend. Alan was buried in his snowboarding suit along with his favorite snowboard. As the casket was loaded into the hearse and the procession made its way to the cemetery, the traditional "police escort" was notably absent.

The Aurora police have a lot to answer for in this case. But whatever the outcome, it won't bring Alan Conner back to his family and legion of friends.

Debbie Simmons
Aurora

A friend of mine called after reading "Left for Dead" to tell me that he thought Justin Berton was writing about me as being "wildly upset" after being arrested for spousal abuse. Since I was the only one present at the Aurora police accreditation meeting to voice my opinion on the subject, I guess it is safe to assume that this is indeed the case.

It's too bad that your writer failed to convey an accurate description of my testimony. Whether it was intentional or not, it's horseshit journalism like this that made me reluctant to appear in the first place. Not once did I raise my voice. In fact, I even acknowledged that being a cop is a thankless job. For the benefit of you and your readers, my original purpose for being there was to shed some light on the extended repercussions of domestic violence when men are falsely accused!

I was wrongfully accused, wrongfully arrested and wrongfully indicted in a court of so-called law. Despite being found not guilty in a court of law, this bullshit is still in the "system" as a "reference," just in case there may be "future occurrences." Every time I have tried to get over the memory of the worst relationship of my life, dumb shit keeps appearing as a reminder. If I am stopped by the police for a traffic violation today and my Social Security number is called in, the dispatcher will report back that I was arrested for assault several years ago. (Never mind that I was tried and found not guilty.)

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