Chris Bartkowicz declines to plead guilty in marijuana home grow case

Yet another unexpected twist in the case of Highlands Ranch's Chris Bartkowicz, whose home-grown marijuana crop was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration immediately after he showed it off to Channel 9.

Bartkowicz was expected to reverse his original not guilty plea at a hearing today -- one that his attorney, Joseph Saint-Veltri, tried to delay because he couldn't reach his client. The judge turned down that request, and the hearing went ahead as scheduled -- but with a surprising result.

"Mr. Bartkowicz declined to go forward with the change of plea," Saint-Veltri says.

What happens next?

"The case is now scheduled a couple of weeks out for a status hearing," Saint-Veltri reveals. "Presumably, the government will proceed to indict him, and the status conference will be used for an arraignment and trial-setting purpose."

Saint-Veltri declines to speak further about Bartkowicz's change of heart, but he does confirm that he'll continue to represent him in a case that now seems much further from a resolution than it did at this time yesterday.

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