DeVilbiss recuses himself in Carl’s burglary cases
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A Pitkin County District Court judge has disqualified himself from three criminal cases involving last April’s burglary of Carl’s Pharmacy.
Judge J.E. DeVilbiss hinted during a May 20 court date that a conflict of interest could arise due to his lengthy patronage of the pharmacy. On Monday, DeVilbiss told attorneys for all three suspects in the burglary – former Aspen residents James Herlong, Amy Michelle Adams and Christopher Shane Miller – that he would have the case reassigned to another district judge.
“I disqualify myself in the cases in which Carl’s Pharmacy is involved,” DeVilbiss said as Adams, dressed in clothes issued by the Pitkin County Jail, appeared for her arraignment.
DeVilbiss said future court dates for the three suspects will be scheduled as soon as the case is reassigned.
The Carl’s burglary occurred late last April when thieves broke through the store’s rooftop skylight to steal thousands of tablets of painkillers and nearly $986 in cash. The case remained cold until April of this year when Herlong – already on probation for burglarizing both the Aspen Store and Main Street Gas last year – was arrested in Saluda, S.C., and charged with the crime.
Three days after Herlong’s arrest, Miller and Adams – a former Carl’s employee – were apprehended by police. And though Adams claims that both Miller and Herlong were working the night of the robbery, an anonymous source claims that the three suspects actually boasted of the crime.
Court documents state that the anonymous source told police that Herlong and his former roommates, Miller and Adams, attempted to sell him prescription drugs they said were stolen from Carl’s. The source told investigators that he met the three in a Myrtle Beach, S.C., hotel room just after Easter of 2001, and Miller showed him pills packaged in eight gallon-sized plastic bags. The source said Miller then told him that Herlong had shimmied through the skylight to get into Carl’s.
The suspects allegedly said that they left Aspen two days after the burglary and spent some time in Denver and Grand Junction before returning to Aspen. They then picked up and moved to South Carolina.
Herlong’s burglaries of Aspen’s two gas stations occurred in October of last year, after he returned to town for the ski season.
All three suspects are currently being held at the Pitkin County Jail.
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