Violent Colorado Women — 2006

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Stories

Woman ruled unfit for trial in veterinarian's stalking

Car ramming leads to felony charges against Grand Junction woman

Assault case against former Calhan cop dropped

Couple's fight in Aspen cancels wedding

Top cop's wife pleads guilty to kicking officer in bar scuffle in Cañon City

Domestic violence charges dropped but still cost man his job

Secret Service agent charged ten months later after mutual combat with wife

Secret Service agent acquitted of assault

Wife now faces charges of stalking and harassment


 

Woman ruled unfit for trial in veterinarian's stalking

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© 2006 by Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Staff Writer, DenverPost.com

The suspect, accused of harassing Kevin Fitzgerald since 1999, is ordered back to a mental health hospital.

January 24, 2006 —A woman alleged to have inundated well-known Denver veterinarian Kevin Fitzgerald since 1999 with letters and gifts, and who claimed that she was his wife, was declared unfit to proceed to trial Monday on a stalking charge.

Prosecutor Michelle Amico and defense attorney Kevin Pauly stipulated that Vicki Lynn Tenney, 45, was incompetent to stand trial. Denver District Judge Morris Hoffman ordered that Tenney be returned to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo to be restored to competency so she can stand trial for harassment by stalking.

Fitzgerald, who practices at the Alameda East Veterinary Clinic, has appeared repeatedly on the Discovery Channel's "Emergency Vets" and received a high volume of mail from viewers as a result. He is also a stand up comic.

Beginning in 1999, Tenney began writing Fitzgerald hundreds of letters from her West Virginia home, addressed to him at the hospital.

Fitzgerald said the letters seemed harmless at first. In them, Tenney said she was a fan of the TV show and loved animals and included a picture of her cat.

About 30 to 40 days after the first letters, their tone changed, prosecutors said. Tenney began writing about God, animals and the afterlife and telling Fitzgerald that she was going to take him to heaven with her.

She began calling Fitzgerald at home in 2000 and sending him drawings and small figurines as gifts. In 2002, she moved to Denver. At one point, the veterinarian received a call from a Denver furniture store saying his wife had selected a couch at the store and that he needed to pay for it. Fitzgerald went to the store and discovered Tenney had claimed to be his wife.

The culmination of the incidents, investigators said, came on Christmas Eve 2004 when Tenney called Fitzgerald and reportedly said, "I'm gonna cut you" and "I'm gonna kill you." Tenney also said she had bought a casket for him. She was arrested Christmas Day.

In January, 2006, Tenney was found incompetent to be tried and was ordered into treatment.

On October 27, 2006, she was given 18 months of probation. Under a deal with prosecutors, Vicki Lynn Tenney, 46, pled guilty to violating a restraining order, a misdemeanor, and was given probation by Denver District Judge Shelley Gilman.

Recently, doctors said she could stand trial. But prosecutor Michelle Amico said that given the fact the case has been in the courts almost two years and Tenney appears to be much better, the disposition was appropriate.

Under the sentence, Tenney is to receive mental health treatment and stay away from Fitzgerald and his clinic.

 

Staff writer Howard Pankratz can be reached at 303-820-1939 or hpankratz@denverpost.com.


 

Car ramming leads to felony charges against Grand Junction woman

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According to the January 25, 2006, edition of the Denver Post (p. 2B) a 37-year-old woman was accused of pinning her common-law husband against a wall after ramming his car with her minivan. She now faces several charges including assault and felony menacing.

Cinde Fields of Grand Junction was arrested about 3 PM Sunday, January 22, 2006, after police received reports of a woman repeatedly running her minivan into a Toyota Camry and a man pinned between the car and his house.

Mesa County sheriff's deputies said when they arrived, Ms. Fields walked up to them, put out her hands and said, "Go ahead and arrest me; I did it." Her common-law husband, who doesn't currently live with Ms. Fields, was taken to the hospital and released later Sunday. His name wasn't released because the incident is a domestic violence case, sheriff's spokeswoman Susan McBurney said Monday.

Deputies said another woman and her 8-month-old son, who were in the car when it was rammed by Ms. Fields, weren't injured.


 

Assault case against former Calhan cop dropped

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© 2006 by Dennis Huspeni, Colorado Springs Gazette

Alleged victim no-show at trial

March 23, 2006 — Charges were dropped Wednesday against a former Calhan police officer accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend.

James Edward Allbee, 30, was charged with misdemeanor assault, false imprisonment and harassment after he allegedly had a fight with Monica Christine Brown, 24, in early December of 2005.

The trial was to start Wednesday, but Ms. Brown did not show up to testify despite being subpoenaed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

"The defendant actually called (El Paso County Sheriff's Office) to report his girlfriend was trying to slit her wrists," Deputy District Attorney Doug Miles wrote in an e-mail. "On the call she is hysterical and, at one point, comes in from another room and hits him. Physical by him is to restrain her from hitting him or leaving." [Yet another case of a man calling the police because of a violent female yet he is the one arrested. The irony is that James Allbee was a cop himself.]

Ms. Brown did not return a call seeking comment.

Officer Allbee was fired at the end of December, Calhan Police Chief Buddy Johnson said. Allbee said Wednesday he was disappointed he got fired, but understood why it happened. He has since moved from Calhan.

"It's a small department, and the amount of attention this received, their credibility was on the line," Allbee said. "I can't blame them." It would have been too hard to try and enforce the law if he had a reputation as a domestic violence suspect, he said.

Allbee admitted holding Ms. Brown and preventing her from leaving his Calhan home, but he said he was just trying to prevent her from hurting herself.

"At no time did I intend to strike her, but I did hold her down," he said. [And now trying to protect someone from injuring themselves has become a crime.]

Allbee's police certification has not been revoked because he was not convicted, but Allbee said he's not sure if he's going to try to get a job with another department.

 

Dennis Huspeni can be contacted at (719) 636-0110 or dennis.huspeni@gazette.com


 

Couple's fight in Aspen cancels wedding

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According to the June 6, 2006 (p. Metro 3) edition of the Denver Post Ali Aghili, 37, and Marney Hurst, 33, both of Boulder, were to be married Saturday evening, June 3 rd , at the Little Nell Hotel in Aspen.

Instead, they got into a fight the night before and police arrested them because both threw punches according to police Sgt. Steve Smith.

The investigation began after police received a 911 call reporting one woman yelling at another. Police determined Ms. Hurst had been shouting at Aghili's sister, which would appear to make her the primary aggressor. Nonetheless, he was arrested as well as is all too commonly the practice.

The wedding had to be called off because the mandatory restraining order requires them to stay away from each other.


 

Top cop's wife pleads guilty to kicking officer in bar scuffle in Cañon City

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According to the August 6, 2006, edition of the Denver Post (p. 2C), the wife of Florence Police Chief Mike Ingle pled guilty to charges she kicked a sheriff's deputy who was responding to a bar fight.

Regina Ingle, 41, was at the Broken Spoke in Penrose on March 4 when bar staff called the sheriff's office near midnight and reported a fight. Bar owner Boyd Canterbury later told the Cañon City Daily Record that Regina Ingle — whose blood alcohol level was determined to be 0.281 — was being unruly but wasn't involved in a physical fight and didn't have any injuries when she left the bar. Four deputies arrived to escort her out. When she allegedly struggled and cursed at them, Deputy Carl Dryer handcuffed her.

While trying to detain Mrs. Ingle, Dryer said she cursed him and started mule-kicking (kicking backwards at the deputy). Several kicks landed.

"I told her if she kept kicking me, I would dump her on the ground," the deputy wrote in his report. When Regina Ingle kicked again, Dryer apparently followed through, "causing Ingle to hit the ground face first," and was briefly unconscious according to his report. Later reports allege bones in her face were broken during the fall.

Regina Ingle was charged with felony second-degree assault on a peace officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and harassment, charges that were handled by a special prosecutor in Pueblo. Mrs. Ingle later pled guilty to resisting arrest and third-degree assault. She received an 18-month deferred sentence and 48 hours of community service and must undergo an alcohol evaluation. Note that it would be unlikely for a man to be let off so easily after assaulting a peace officer.

According to the September 6, 2006, Colorado Springs Gazette (p. Metro 1-2) an internal investigation found that Fremont County sheriff's deputy Carl Dryer used excessive force in arresting the Florence police chief's wife, Regina Ingle, during the altercation.

Deputy Carl Dryer was suspended without pay for two weeks, and his employment will be on a probationary basis for six months. He also was barred from instructing other deputies in the use of arrest-control tactics because of his conduct in the arrest. Dryer also may be required to take remedial training, although Sheriff Jim Beicker said he didn't have a specific course in mind.

One might assume that if Ingle had been male, and not the wife of a police chief, that no action would have been taken against the deputy.


 

Domestic violence charges dropped but still cost man his job

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Abstracted from story by Dennis Huspeni, Colorado Springs Gazette

September 12, 2006 — A 21-year-old Monument-area resident got a bogus domestic violence charge dismissed, but the arrest and court case showed up on his criminal record and kept him from getting a job with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

When the man requested his arrest record be sealed, he doubted the prosecutor would object, because the charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Wrong.

The 4 th Judicial District attorney's representative objected to the sealing, saying not enough time had passed.

Fortunately for the man — who asked that his name not be used out of fear of being labeled a domestic abuser — a judge sealed it anyway.

"People have a penchant for labeling someone with a domestic violence tag," ruled Senior Judge David Parrish. "That carries a heavy load with it and affects his ability to go forward in life."

Colorado law allows defendants to ask the court to seal their arrest records, and any court file created from that arrest, if the charges are dismissed, the person is found not guilty by a jury or the case involved a deferred sentence.

The person must pay $136 to file a civil petition to seal the records.

Deputy District Attorney Jayne Candea-Ramsey, who heads the district attorney's civil division, reviews petitions.

So far in 2006, 242 such petitions have been filed in the 4 th Judicial District, which includes El Paso and Teller counties. The district attorney's office has agreed to 73 of the requests, and had 55 more sealed over its objection.

Before District Attorney John Newsome took over in 2005, the office objected to every petition.

"The requests are evaluated whether it's in the interest of justice to have the case sealed," said Candea-Ramsey. "There are good people who get into trouble. But then, there are also people who get into trouble who we need to keep a record of."

The domestic violence suspect had no criminal record. The felony charge — and subsequent arrest by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office — came after he had fought with his now ex-girlfriend. She bit him in the shoulder hard enough to draw blood, so he pushed her off him, he said.

Deputies arrested him despite the fact that he still had bite marks on his shoulder three days later when pictures were taken, and the woman had no visible injuries.

The man spent almost two days in jail, and prosecutors took the case up to the day of trial before dropping it. [which is standard practice in an attempt to coerce a plea bargain.]

He had to attend counseling with the woman despite having broken off the relationship. So the man was stunned when he showed up to court to get his record sealed and Ms. Candea-Ramsey objected.

"Why should that be on my record?" he asked. "I had to spend two days in jail, pay all that money for an attorney, do counseling, and they still wanted it on my record? I had done nothing wrong!"

At least one judge thinks if prosecutors drop the charges, the case should be sealed.

"If it's dismissed because of lack of evidence, a not-guilty at trial, I see no reason not to seal it," said Senior District Judge Richard Toth. "Sometimes they got the wrong guy."

Ms. Candea-Ramsey said otherwise during the hearing: "The public has a right to know that when he is confronted, he gets angry and lashes out at others." [So he has no right to self defense!]

The man's attorney, Dan Kay, said he, too, was surprised by the assistant district attorney's position.

"If they didn't feel they had a prosecutable case, he's entitled to get it sealed," Kay said. "Sometimes it's so arbitrary."

Ms. Candea-Ramsey counters that the district attorney's office has to consider the alleged victim's wishes, as well as look at the defendant's prior criminal history.

It's an especially difficult decision when it comes to domestic violence charges, since victims often change their minds and reconcile with suspected abusers. The victim will often refuse to testify, and prosecutors then have no choice but to dismiss the case. [but only since the Crawford vs. Washington Supreme Court ruling.]

That's why Ms. Candea-Ramsey doesn't agree to routine sealings in cases that have been dropped by the district attorney.

"We really do look at it on a case-by-case basis and try to do what's fair but also do justice," she said.

The Monument-area man wonders about innocent defendants who don't have the financial support he had from his parents and how they would get their names cleared. "I hate this system," he said.


 

Secret Service agent charged ten months later after mutual combat with wife

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Abstracted from article by Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News

November 18, 2006 —The lead U.S. Secret Service special agent in Denver appeared in an 18 th Judicial District court in Castle Rock November 17 th to face charges of domestic violence against his wife after an altercation with her ten months before on January 4, 2006.

Lon Robert Garner, 56, was arrested November 15 th by Douglas County Sheriff's investigators on a charge of third-degree assault and domestic violence after his wife, Christine Garner, age 50, filed a complaint alleging that he attacked her ten months previously at their home in Elizabeth.

The charge, a Class 3 misdemeanor, carries a penalty of six to 18 months in jail, loss of his job, the ability to carry a firearm for the rest of his life, and 36 weeks of DV treatment, among other draconian penalties.

Mr. Garner was released on $50,000 bond Thursday and ordered to wear a GPS location monitor to ensure his compliance with court orders to stay away from his wife. A pretrial conference was set for December 1, 2006.

An affidavit gives the following account:

"The couple's marriage became troubled in late 2005 when Christine Garner learned from one of her husband's co-workers that he was having an affair. Lon Garner admitted to the affair in December 2005 and the couple began marriage counseling.

The alleged assault occurred the following month when Christine Garner, 50, confronted her husband over a credit card purchase for flowers.

Christine Garner kicked her husband in the groin [emphasis added] and he choked her until their son, Lon Jr., struck his father on the head, knocking him down."

Cristine Garner said she did not file the complaint until November 9 th because her husband had threatened to "eliminate" anyone who tried to ruin his career "when they wouldn't be expecting it." [Somehow the claim she was in fear for her life rings hollow, especially after a ten month delay.]

Garner had been the top Secret Service agent in Denver but was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest. He was transferred to the Denver field office in 2000.

According to the December 2, 2006, Denver Post (p. 24A) at his arraignment Garner was formally charged with two counts of felony second-degree assault for allegedly choking his wife on January 4 th apparently supplementing the original misdemeanor charges.

[In the experience of the Equal Justice Foundation it is common for prosecutors to add on charges that cannot be sustained before a jury in order to try and force defendants to take a plea bargain.]

Secret Service agent acquitted of assault

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August 24, 2007 — A jury in Castle Rock acquitted Secret Service agent Lon Garner on August 22, 2007, of two felony counts of assault, said Arapahoe County court spokeswoman Kathleen Walsh.

The jury of nine women and three men didn't take long — testimony had only wrapped up earlier in the day.

Lon Garner, 57, didn't take the stand during the two-day trial. He was accused of assaulting Christine Garner on January 4, 2006, after she confronted him about a credit card statement she thought showed he bought flowers for another woman.

Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Russell W. Slade said Lon Garner denied attacking his wife. Lon Garner said his wife told him, "You ruined my life and I'm going to ruin yours" before she went to authorities in November, 2006, Slade testified.

Christine Garner testified that her husband's eyes were "full of rage" during the alleged assault. She wept through much of her testimony but she also testified that she had repeatedly slapped her husband and kicked him in the groin after finding his credit card had apparently been used to send flowers to a female friend.

Prosecutor Colin McCallin said Garner, a former Navy SEAL and Denver police officer, was trained in hand-to-hand combat, making his hands "deadly weapons." [Another trained killer, as are all military veterans in DV trials.]

The couple's 21-year-old son, Lon Garner Jr., a Navy petty officer, testified that he saw his father choking his mother and that he wrestled him to the ground.

Defense lawyer Craig Truman said Lon Garner was trying to calm his wife and said that she tried to hit him several times, conceding there had been a physical confrontation between them. But Christine Garner was painted as the attacker. The defense also noted that she waited for ten months to report the incident; that there was a lack of proof of any injuries; and she made threats to ruin her husband before finally filing the charges. Truman also told jurors during closing arguments that Lon Garner had a right to defend himself.

[It is the repeated experience, demonstrated here once again, that if a man or woman pleads not guilty and demands a jury trial when charged with domestic violence that the charges will either be dismissed, typically the day before or the morning of the trial, or the jury will find them not guilty, as happened here. The probability of such an outcome exceeds 95%.]

Wife now faces charges of stalking and harassment

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Christine Garner faces charges of stalking and harassing the woman she suspected of having an affair with her husband.

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| Chapter 12 — Stories Of Violent Women And Abused Men In Colorado |

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Last modified 10/7/16