Garfield County cop’s resignation spurs questions about credibility in murder case
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A Garfield County detective quit last month over alleged financial irregularities, and it was revealed in court on Thursday that his resignation might become “impeachment” fodder in a pending murder trial.
The former detective, Eric Ashworth, resigned around April 17, according to a formal disclosure statement issued by the 9th District Attorney’s Office on April 25.
Public defender Matt Morriss confirmed that the matter came up in court on Thursday during a hearing in the case against Marcus Bebb-Jones.
Bebb-Jones, a British celebrity gambler, is accused of murdering his Vietnamese-born wife, Sabrina Bebb-Jones, in 1997 and dumping her body in a remote portion of western Garfield County.
The two were living in Grand Junction and running a small lodge at the time, and Bebb-Jones later moved back to his native country.
The victim’s skull was found in 2004, sparking a lengthy investigation that resulted in Bebb-Jones’ arrest in Britain in 2009 and extradited back to Colorado in 2010.
The district attorney’s statement, a legally required disclosure sent to attorneys and other parties in the Bebb-Jones case, was obtained from a source by the Post Independent.
Ashworth’s resignation, according to the district attorney’s statement, “may have been based upon” accusations that he used a Sheriff’s Office credit card to pay for meals after he already had received per-diem payment for the same meals.
Morriss, who is handling Bebb-Jones’ defense, predicted that his office will be seeking more information from Sheriff Lou Vallario about Ashworth’s resignation and that it might be used to impeach Ashworth’s credibility as a witness.
Vallario did not respond to emailed requests for comment Thursday afternoon.
Ashworth, along with other law enforcement personnel, testified in a preliminary hearing in the Bebb-Jones case in March.
A judge subsequently ruled that there was sufficient evidence against the defendant to warrant further prosecution.
The details underlying Ashworth’s resignation, Morriss said, “potentially affect his credibility as a witness.”
Morriss said the local public defender’s office will look into the matter prior to the next hearing in the case, on June 6.
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