Activism

Activist Queen Phoenix a No-Show at Jury Trial. Is She on the Lam?

Queen Phoenix did not show up to court as expected.
Queen Phoenix did not show up to court as expected. Anthony Camera
She’s always easy to spot at protests, and her energy seems to rally followers. Dezy Saint-Nolde, better known by her activist name, Queen Phoenix, has become a fixture in Denver’s activist community, having helped organize multiple large demonstrations since President Donald Trump was elected.

But Phoenix is also facing five felony and three misdemeanor charges related to marijuana. In March, she pleaded not guilty to those charges, explaining to Westword that she’d been gifting cannabis in return for donations in good faith, and that her charges were really an attempt to shut down her activism.

Her jury trial was slated to begin on Monday, October 16.

Phoenix did not show up.


Her failure-to-appear status means that a warrant has been put out for her arrest; Phoenix will face additional charges in Denver if located. We immediately tried to reach her, but found that her personal cell phone number had been disconnected and that her personal Gmail account and Facebook profile had been deleted.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office confirmed that they believe Phoenix is on the lam. Phoenix’s attorney, Susan Martin, declined to comment.

Phoenix had raised $3,835 through a crowdfunding website under the campaign “Urgent Queen Phoenix Defense Fund.”

It’s unclear whether she used the money or if it will be returned to more than 100 individual donors. Westword has left additional messages for Phoenix on her public Facebook page and website.

click to enlarge Dezy Saint-Nolde, aka Queen Phoenix - ANTHONY CAMERA
Dezy Saint-Nolde, aka Queen Phoenix
Anthony Camera
Her disappearance also follows recent controversy at Sky Vista Middle School in Cherry Creek, where a teacher, Asia Lyons, has been put on leave by administrators after some parents complained about Lyon’s decision to invite Phoenix to speak to students; the parents took issue with inviting a person facing marijuana charges (even though Phoenix hasn’t been convicted). That situation is also still developing: Friends of Lyons are defending her by pointing out that the class she taught centered around civic engagement, so Phoenix was not an unusual selection for a guest lecturer.

Update: As a final attempt to reach Phoenix, Westword went to see whether her partner, Meghan Saint-Nolde, showed up to her pre-trial hearing on Thursday, October 19, (she's also facing two felony charges and three misdemeanor charges that stem from the alleged cannabis business she runs with Phoenix).

Meghan did not appear at the courthouse for her hearing; like Phoenix, she appears to be missing and the court clerk's office marked her as a “failure to appear.”
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker