DA to appeal judge’s decision in hostage case
The case against a Colorado Springs real estate broker accused of threatening to kill three men he allegedly held hostage last summer may be idle for the next six months, attorneys said earlier this week.
That’s because District Attorney Jeff Cheney has decided to appeal a district court judge’s decision to dismiss three of the most serious charges against Brolin McConnell after a preliminary hearing last month.
District Judge Chris Seldin reduced a charge of attempted first-degree murder filed against McConnell to attempted reckless manslaughter and dismissed two counts of attempted first-degree kidnapping after the preliminary hearing in late January.
Harvey Steinberg, McConnell’s attorney, praised the decision afterward, though Cheney on Wednesday said the judge’s reduction of the attempted first-degree murder charge especially was questionable.
“The legal standard applied as to (that count) is not in accordance with prevailing law,” Cheney said.
The appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals will focus mainly on that attempted first-degree murder count, he said, though he will include the two dismissed counts as well in it.
On Monday, Steinberg said via telephone in district court that the appeals court delay could take six months or longer, and might end up at the Colorado Supreme Court. The appeal will halt any action in the case until the issue is decided, Seldin said Monday.
Cheney said he didn’t think the appeal will take six months.
McConnell faces 15 other felony charges in the case, which occurred in July on Lincoln Creek Road on Independence Pass. McConnell allegedly forced three men out of their cars at gunpoint and repeatedly threatened to shoot them in the head before all three were able to run away without injury.
McConnell remains incarcerated at the Pitkin County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond. Steinberg said Monday he plans to file a motion to reduce the bond. Seldin denied a similar request after the preliminary hearing to reduce the bond to a $200,000 property bond backed by McConnell’s parents’ home in the Colorado Springs area.
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Multiple efforts have popped up to keep the region’s Latino population informed about the coronavirus crisis and economic aid available for unemployed workers. A special Facebook public group called Coronavirus Aspen 2 Parachute Community Help provides answers to frequently asked questions and directs people to aid.