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Havens disputes several of Wick's claims. The Arvada chief didn't respond to a request for an interview, and his department declined to allow Johnson or other officers involved in the DMATT sting to comment on the Havens case, citing the ongoing litigation. Under parole board rules, victims of a crime have an undisputed right to object to early release of an offender. But in this case, the victim of Havens's attempted assault happens to be the police officer who shot him, the one he's suing for allegedly violating his rights.

Jefferson County DA Storey also weighed in with his own letter of protest to Michaud: "We understand Mr. Havens' physical condition, but serving less than one-and-a-half years of a 20-year sentence flies in the face of the original sentence. The judge who sentenced him knew of his physical condition and yet imposed the 20 years, and we think that sentence was justified and should be served."

The logic of Storey's argument eludes Havens. "It shouldn't matter how many years I got sentenced," he says, "because one, I am already serving a life sentence in a wheelchair. And two, DOC doesn't want to take care of me."

Although his care in the prison system costs the state more than $200,000 a year, a medical parole for Darrell Havens drew protests from Arvada police.
Mark Manger
Although his care in the prison system costs the state more than $200,000 a year, a medical parole for Darrell Havens drew protests from Arvada police.
Havens celebrating a birthday shortly before his 2006 motorcycle accident.
Havens celebrating a birthday shortly before his 2006 motorcycle accident.

Gerald Havens has his own years of experience with the prison system, but law enforcement's determination to block his son's parole is beyond anything he's seen before. "This boy can't commit a crime," he insists. "He can't do nothing. He did do wrong against society. If they want to put him on parole for twenty years, I have no problem with that. But we have to get him to rehab.

"The doctors said there is a possibility that he could walk again, but it would take years and years of rehab. He doesn't get any rehab in there. They take care of you the least they can."

Michaud suggests that Wick and others "might well soften their view" about Havens if he reapplies for parole in another six months or a year. According to Warden Wasko, the paperwork is already being prepared for another try. "If he meets the requirements, we'll process it exactly the same way we did last time," she says.

Darrell Havens figures he has one move left, one bargaining chip. "Tell them I will drop my lawsuit against them if they can get me my parole back," he says. "The little bit of life I can have, I would like to have it. There's really no benefit to me being in prison, no program I can take."

He doesn't share his father's optimism about being able to walk some day. The curve in his spine is so bad now, he says, he will always need the chair. But maybe with the right therapy, he might not feel so boxed in, trapped.

"I admit the things I was doing was wrong," he says. "I'm sorry for what I was doing. Every day I pay the price sitting in this chair."

Contact the author at alan.prendergast@westword.com.

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