Last week, we told you about the arrest of Daniel Stetzel for the brutal murder of his mom, Grand Junction resident Kathleen Stetzel. Now, however, information has emerged revealing that Stetzel, a multiple arrestee for violent offenses, had actually escaped from a halfway house weeks before the kil ... More >>
Update: Earlier this week, we told you about the nationwide search for convicted child rapist Eric Hartwell, who'd escaped from a Denver-area facility after cutting off his ankle monitor. Earlier today, however, Hartwell was captured -- but not before he put a lot of distance between himself and Co ... More >>
Anonymous avengers who started their quest in 1985, Guerrilla Girls spotlight institutionalized sexism and racism in the art world through radical acts of exposure. Simultaneously infiltrating the gallery world and educating the public on the lack of representation for women and people of color in a ... More >>
President Barack Obama recently commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners serving absurdly long sentences for crack cocaine convictions, noting that such harsh punishments couldn't be imposed under current sentencing schemes. But Colorado's recent governors have been reluctant to exercise th ... More >>
This week's cover story, "Blue in Orange," is about Willie Clark, who was convicted in 2010 of murdering Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. Clark is now appealing that conviction and is also fighting prison officials in court to get himself out of solitary confinement, where he's been kept ... More >>
A former police chief's analysis of a 2007 police shooting during an auto-theft sting -- one that left an unarmed nineteen-year-old suspect paralyzed for life -- contends that Arvada police detective Bill Johnson's use of deadly force in the incident was "unwarranted, unnecessary and extreme." The r ... More >>
"I'm a welder and a family man, and I tell you, that feels pretty great," says Seth Lee. It sounded pretty great, too, as this welder/family man stood before a crowd gathered today in the Capitol to talk about how far he's come since that day in 1998 when he was convicted of second-degree murder and ... More >>
What does a dog named Nuzzy have to do with the arrests of Bryan Carver and Michael Byrd on a potpourri of charges involving drugs and weapon possession by previous offenders? The answer has to do with Nuzzy's collar -- after which Carver and Byrd were the ones getting collared. Details in probable ... More >>
Donna Lynn Martinez had posed for a police photographer before being shot to death by a Lakewood Police officer, as her mug shot indicates. But her companion, Bernard John Trujillo, sported by far the more impressive record -- one that's likely to get longer this week when charges against him are fo ... More >>
Contrary to scenes in numerous books and movies, getting locked up doesn't always lead to painful bouts of reflection and self-examination. Criminals are a stubborn bunch, and it's easy behind bars to embrace a convict code and a victim mentality that merely reinforces addictive, self-destructive an ... More >>
At her parole hearing last summer, Jennifer Reali insisted that she's a different person from the 29-year-old, ninja-clad assassin who ambushed and killed her lover's wife, Dianne Hood, outside Hood's lupus support meeting in 1990. The parole board didn't entirely agree, but there's no question that ... More >>
The secret behind long sentences handed out to repeat offenders in the 18th Judicial District
Darrell Havens.A federal judge has ruled that Darrell Havens can proceed with his lawsuit against the Arvada police officer who shot him during a car-theft sting operation in 2007, leaving him a quadriplegic. The decision has Havens' attorneys poised to conduct a fresh investigation of the c ... More >>
Darrell Havens.In an affidavit filed in federal court, a veteran cop turned high-profile private investigator claims that an Arvada police officer who fired on an unarmed suspect during a car-theft sting operation in 2007, leaving the man a quadriplegic, was not justified in the use of deadly ... More >>
Robert Walters, the subject of this week's cover story, "Dead End," was persistent, prosecutors say. After one man declined Walters's request to kill his wife, he turned to Rodrick Williams, a career criminal who accepted the job but then ratted Walters out to the police. So who was the fi ... More >>
We've noted in this space before before the tendency among Colorado governors to load up the state parole board with former Denver police officers, as if the job was essentially an $85,000-a-year private security gig. Judging from John Hickenlooper's new appointments to the board, that streak ... More >>
There's nothing quite like the transition from doing hard time to looking for a job in hard times. Every year, Colorado's prison system sends about 10,000 felons back to society -- and roughly two-thirds of them end up back in prison within three years. In most cases, their return is not due ... More >>
Over the years, we've written frequently about the breakdowns in Colorado's parole system -- how heaping mandatory parole on top of prison sentences and making ill-prepared felons jump through multiple hoops drives up prison costs. Now there finally seems to be some serious efforts among lawm ... More >>
Claire Levy.Although Representative Claire Levy has gotten plenty of attention for her sponsorship of THC driving limits, and her change of heart over the best possible standard, she's equally passionate about the Colorado Juvenile Equal Protection Act, which is slated to go before the judici ... More >>
Lori MidsonSkew, according to owner Ton Phairatphibon, was skewered -- by its own employees Weird. Just weird. That was the overriding observation last night at Skew, the globalized food-on-a-stick restaurant that Ton Phairatphibon opened at 2070 South University Boulevard exactly one month ... More >>
Tom Clements.This week, the Colorado Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Tom Clements as Department of Corrections executive director. It's not one of the most glamorous posts in Governor John Hickenlooper's cabinet, certainly, but it's one of the most crucial if the state is goin ... More >>
Mitchell.Only days after I posted a few remarks about Bill Ritter's play-it-safe approach to pardons and his reluctance to commute excessive sentences, the departing governor delivered a slew of bolder pardons and even a few commutations, stunning some grateful convicts and raising hackles el ... More >>
Michael Tesman.A week ago today, Michael Tesman was arrested in what a Douglas County Sheriff's Office release described as a second-degree kidnapping. Authorities reportedly coordinated the bust with help from Tesman's alleged victim -- his ex-wife, whose text messages about her location wer ... More >>
Robert Knudsen.One of the most uncomfortable responsibilities for municipalities these days is to inform the citizenry that a sexually violent predator has come to town. So imagine how delighted the folks in Wheat Ridge were to let folks know that one who'd previously been living in the commu ... More >>
The pen is mightier than the pen: Governor Bill Ritter signs a drug sentencing reform bill. After the embarrasing political scrum over the sex offender bill that prompted Governor Bill Ritter to veto the mess last week, it's easy to overlook the fact that something was actually accomplished o ... More >>
It sounds like a tidy piece of inspirational fiction: A coke-snorting, booze-guzzling dropout squanders every opportunity in life, turns to armed robbery, burglary and sleazy telemarketing scams, spends much of his adult life behind bars as a self-proclaimed "worthless piece of shit" -- then ... More >>
Put some teeth into it!
A mere sixteen months ago, Casey Holden's life was neatly stored within seventy square feet of cell space in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Released in January 2007 directly to the street after four years of 23-hour-a-day lockdown and a decade spent mostly behind bars, the 26-year-old seemed to be ... More >>
When we last checked in with Casey Holden, he was scraping by as a wage slave at a pizza joint in Grand Junction. This was a better life than being locked down in the Colorado state pen, mind you, but a bit short of Holden's dreams of getting an education, getting his own place and making some real ... More >>
It's old home week in the Ritter administration, as multi-pensioned top cops who worked with the guv when he was Denver's DA find new state criminal-justice jobs. Former Denver police chief Ari Zavaras was recruited to try to fix the bloated budget at the Department of Corrections -- again; and toda ... More >>
Locked down for years, Casey Holden hardly ever talked to anyone. He lived inside his head because there was no one around but the guards, and they were, well, guards. His social skills, never elaborate to begin with, devolved into a series of grunts and cold stares. Now Holden is 26 and on the str ... More >>
The lights are off most of the time inside Certified Customs, at 4815 E. Colfax. The shop's owner, grills guru Nando Mondragon, the subject of a recent Westword profile, is locked up in Las Vegas, waiting to hear if he'll be imprisoned on a parole violation or allowed to return to his hip-hop fashio ... More >>
Casey Holden was sixteen years old when he got locked up on juvenile drug and theft charges. A series of problems while serving his time, including two assaults and cutting off his ankle bracelet when he was almost done, has kept him behind bars most of the last decade. For the past four years, he's ... More >>
Mark Seibel was, technically, a fugitive from justice when I met him at a westside Starbucks last summer. He was also the first fugitive I've met who had his own MySpace page. Homeless at age eleven, in and out of the juvenile and then adult prison system with diagnosed but untreated mental illness, ... More >>
At least one out of every five Colorado prisoners is mentally ill -- some violent, some undetected or untreated. How did the Big House become the Bug House?
Shaken to the Core
Back in the Brig
The sordid legal saga of Katica Crippen, Second Amendment pinup girl.
Trick or treatment?
The oldest lifer in Colorado prisons is dying to be anywhere but here.
Colorado gambles millions on a second last chance for violent teens
THE STATE IS CATCHING MORE HALFWAY-HOUSE ABSCONDERS THAN EVER. UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S ALSO LETTING MORE CRIMINALS ESCAPE.
FOR A DOZEN YEARS, FUGITIVE PEDOPHILE JAMES CHRISTENSEN CLAIMS HE LIVED CRIME-FREE. THAT'S NOT ENOUGH FOR THE STATE PAROLE BOARD.THE SINS OF THE FATHER WHEN PEDOPHILE JAMES CHRISTENSEN WAS SENTENCED UNDER THE DAY-TO-LIFE STATUTE, THE STATE DIDN'T FIGURE O