Strange but true news stories from the past year

Also read: 2011 Hall of Shame

Behaving badly

It takes extra effort to get initiated into Westword's annual Hall of Shame, and not everyone who acts like a shmuck over the course of the year makes the final cut. But some came very, very close. Here's a list of our Hall of Shame runners-up.

(View the 2011 Westword Hall of Shame.)

Douglas County Sheriff's Office lieutenant Jeff Egnor must have had a lot of time on his hands, because the now-former public servant spent a lot of time trolling the Internet and posting "racial and homophobic" comments — under the screen name "Abu Mybutt" — on news-outlet websites while on duty, according to a sheriff's department investigation that stemmed from a Channel 7 information request. His targets included Governor John Hickenlooper, illegal immigrants, liberals, and gays in the military. Examples of his choice prose included: "New military slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way!" and "I have an immigration policy: 12 gauge shotgun!"

Raymond Davis, a former CIA contractor, made headlines last January when he shot and killed two men who allegedly tried to rob him in Pakistan. Then, in October, he was arrested in Highlands Ranch after, police say, he beat up a guy who stole his parking spot outside an Einstein Bros. bagel shop. The 37-year-old Davis was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and slated for trial in January. He's likely to fare better in our justice system than he would have in a Pakistani jail, which is where Davis probably would have had to spend some time if someone — but certainly not the U.S. government — hadn't paid $2.3 million to the families of the two men he'd killed in order to free him.

Sure, he ended the season as a hero, but Denver Broncos field-goal kicker Matt Prater started off a little bit wobbly, if you know what we mean. In August, Prater was charged with DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident after police said he'd backed into another car in a Greenwood Village hotel parking lot. Why was Prater at a hotel at 3 a.m.? Police said he and a stripper from Shotgun Willie's were looking for a room. Prater bailed on the woman after the crash, however, and police found her hailing a cab.

Hubcaps can be expensive, and in the case of Brittany Gonzales, they're worth even more than children. Gonzales, 21, was arrested over the summer after Denver police said she hit an eleven-year-old boy who was riding his bike, stopped to grab the hubcap that had fallen off in the collision, asked someone else to call 911, and then took off. The boy suffered a variety of injuries, while Gonzales was charged with vehicular assault, DUI, child abuse and leaving the scene of an accident.

Thirteen months ago, Perrish Cox was a vaunted Denver Broncos rookie cornerback with the oyster-filled world of a star athlete laid out before him. Not anymore. In the ensuing months, Cox was charged with sexually assaulting a woman "who was physically helpless" and "incapable of determining the nature of the conduct." The woman, who believes she was drugged, got pregnant as a result of the assault, according to prosecutors; DNA tests show that Cox is the father. The Broncos cut Cox in September; a trial is set for February.

Dog breeder and pet store owner Jeff Fortin surrendered his breeding license in January — much to the delight of animal lovers, who have been complaining about him for years. But he didn't do so before euthanizing 1,200 dogs at his Oberlin, Kansas, puppy-breeding business, where an outbreak of distemper in December kept him from selling hundreds of animals. The story shocked animal-rights activists, who protested at his Denver pet store, North Washington Street Kennel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also accused Fortin of violating rules about recordkeeping and health issues. In 2008, dog lovers staged numerous protests at Fortin's Longmont pet shop after he was accused of storing thirteen puppies in a tiny enclosure, among other things. In October, Fortin also closed his kennel in Adams County.

Some breakups are bad; others involve raw chicken. In late 2010, police arrested well-known Colorado lobbyist Ronald Dean Smith and accused him of breaking into his ex-wife's home, pouring bleach into her baby grand piano, erasing her computer hard drive and sticking raw chicken parts into the heating vents. According to police, Smith hosted a fundraiser at Coors Field for then-mayor John Hickenlooper the same day he committed the vandalism. Although Smith denied the allegations, a jury found him guilty in September of second-degree burglary and criminal mischief in the revenge scheme.

Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Jeffrey Campos, 55, was forced to resign last summer — just days before the organization's biggest annual fundraiser — after he was charged with assault in a case that involved an altercation with real-estate broker Jennifer Reins, a Chamber member. Details have been few, but Campos and Reins had a close relationship, according to news reports. A trial in the case is set for February.

Craziest stories of the year

In November, the members of Occupy Denver elected Shelby, a border collie mix, to serve as the leader of their so-called leaderless movement. But so far, Shelby's reign has been a dog. Protesters were unsuccessful in their attempts to arrange a meeting between Shelby and Governor John Hickenlooper. Someone set up a fake Twitter account for Shelby that mocked the Occupy movement — and even NPR made fun of Occupy Denver's top dog.

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You glossed over the shenanigans from the Occupy Denver protestors. A month after naming a dog as their leader, they ended up committing arson on their structures as they were being cleared out. OD protestors, who were claiming themselves as the primarly advocates for the homeless, then disrupted a memorial service for the 136 homeless that had died in Denver the previous year. An inglorious end to their year.

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