Timothy Masters has lived every person's worst nightmare. Masters spent more than ten years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was wrongfully convicted in 1999 of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. Now, the Colorado government seeks to make amends.
On July 9, Marvin Booker, 56, homeless and the son of a Tennessee pastor, was booked in Denver's new downtown jail on drug charges, including possession. The booking process took place in the very early hours of the morning, but a jail doesn't sleep, and neither did the witnesses who allegedly saw how Booker died that morning.
About one month ago today, we shared the story about the case of 9-year-old Genesis Sims. Her decomposing body was found dead in the town home where she had lived with Hanif Sims, her father, and Monique Lynch, Sims' girlfriend.
Denver Police Detective Paul Baca has gone from proving others' guilt in his line of work, to defending his own name. He has been accused of fabricating evidence in order to arrest a suspect in the 2009 Lodo robberies.
On May 14, the dead body of 9-year-old Genesis Sims was found in a Colorado home's crawl space. According to sources, the young girl's body was decomposed, and that is making it difficult to clearly distinguish the cause of death. A DNA test was used to determine the identity of the body.
Michael Morelock is only 30 years old and has only been working for the Denver Police Department for four years. But in that short time, the police officer has managed to stir up some serious doubt surrounding his behavior both on and off of the job.
On March 13, 2009, Mina Weiler, 60, was killed in her own home--and by her own son. Her 21-year-old son, Christopher Benjamin Weiler, was arrested by Colorado officials after his mother's body was found in her house. Her body was badly beaten, reportedly due to Christopher Weiler having fatally attacked her with a guitar.
The 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver is a hot spot for summer shopping, dining and entertainment. May, however, has brought up a familiar problem of violent crimes pervading the walkways of the outdoor mall.
The Colorado Independent and members of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar recently attempted a study that would reveal the demographic details of the Colorado youths who are tried as adults for drug crimes, violent crimes and other various offenses.
If you have been charged with a specialized offense called a "crime of violence" there is a very real risk you may go to prison. A crime of violence charge (not to be confused with a violent crime) is any one of the following offenses: murder, ANY crime against an at-risk adult or an at-risk juvenile, 1st or 2nd degree assault, kidnapping, a sexual offense (felony), aggravated robbery, 1st degree arson, 1st degree burglary, escape, or criminal extortion if during that offense the offender used, or possessed and threatened the use of, a deadly weapon, or caused serious bodily injury or death to anyone other than the offender. Therefore, some offenses, such as felony menacing which, by definition, involve a deadly weapon, aren't crimes of violence because they are not listed in the specific crimes that can be a crime of violence. Now, say an offender is charged with a crime of violence. If the defendant is found guilty (or pleads guilty) to a crime of violence, he or she can't get probation, even if the Judge wants to give probation. They must be sentenced to prison and must be sentenced to prison from at least the midpoint of the normal range of punishment to double the normal punishment range. For example, a class 4 felony normally carries a 2-6 year sentencing range. Charge a crime of violence and that person, if convicted of the crime of violence, must receive between 4-12 years in prison. It gets even more complicated. A lot of offenses that are crimes of violence are also extraordinary risk crimes. An extraordinary risk crime is a crime (aggravated robbery, child abuse, distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, any crime of violence, stalking, etc.) that is just slightly worse than other felonies of the same level. An extraordinary risk designation tacks an extra couple of years on the range of sentence for a given level of felony (2 years extra for a class 4 felony, 4 years extra for a class 3 felony). The crime of assault in the second degree, a class 4 felony, is both an extraordinary risk crime and a crime of violence. Therefore, the range changes from 2-6 years to 2-8 years (based on the extraordinary risk designation) and then to a mandatory 5-16 years prison based on the crime of violence. It's important for your attorney to know these laws and to understand how all the statutes work together to change the sentencing ranges you may be facing.