Mom says son in danger from Schutter in Pueblo
A local mother is worried that her son, who is serving time in the Youth Offender Services prison in Pueblo, may be in danger when another local youth arrives there soon.
Kim Wille of El Jebel, mother of convicted robber Cody Wille, said Tuesday that she believes her son’s life may be in danger from Stefan Schutter, who recently was convicted on armed robbery charges and this week was sentenced to the same facility in Pueblo.
Her concern, she said, is that her son was a prosecution witness against Schutter, and she claimed that Schutter has already made threats against Cody Wille.
“I think that it’s not right to put to people together in the same place, one who’s testified against the other,” she said Tuesday. “Cody’s biggest fear has been that they’d put him [Schutter] at YOS.”
But an official at the prison said Wille and Schutter can be held in separate parts of the facility and that his staff is trained to prevent hostilities.
Kim Wille said that, contrary to public statements by YOS officials, the facility is dominated by gang members who might be willing to help Schutter seek vengeance against Cody. Or, she said, one or more gang members may decide to take action themselves, based on their perception that he carries a “snitch jacket,” or a reputation for being an informant.
“This is a gang prison. Cody has broken the basic code of gang ethics,” declared Wille, who has visited the facility numerous times. “I’m scared for my son right now.”
Both Schutter and Wille were convicted of being part of a crime spree in the Aspen and Snowmass areas in August and September of 1999. Though they were juveniles at the time the crimes were committed, they were tried as adults.
Wille, 18, pleaded guilty to taking part in the Aug. 5 armed robbery at Clark’s Market in Aspen.
Schutter, 18, was convicted by a jury of being one of three teenagers who robbed the Snowmass Village Market on Aug. 19, but was acquitted on charges that he was the robber who carried a gun and used it to pistol-whip the night manager of the store. He also faces trial on charges that he was involved in the Clark’s Market robbery.
Wille testified at Schutter’s trial in August, for the prosecution, and is likely to testify at the upcoming trial, now scheduled for Jan. 9.
The two were part of a group of friends who essentially all grew up in the Aspen area, attended the same schools and, in various combinations within the group, were involved in an extensive series of crimes.
To date, all but one of the group have either accepted plea bargains or been convicted in connection with the crimes, largely on the basis of confessions and testimony in which several individuals in the group implicated others.
Special Prosecutor John Clune, who asked a judge to send Schutter to adult prison for 18 years, had little to say about the possibility of trouble arising from having the two young men in the same facility.
“I can’t think of any,” he said when asked about potential problems arising from the sentence.
Judge Thomas Ossola, who sent Schutter to the YOS facility but has not been involved in other cases stemming from the crime spree, declined to say anything about the matter.
But Aspen’s assistant district attorney, Lawson Wills, said he sees nothing unusual about sentencing both young men to the same facility.
“YOS, I’m sure, has faced similar problems in the past and is equipped to handle it,” he said. “I’m certainly not insensitive to their concerns, but I’m not sure their concerns are based in any fact.”
Brian Gomez, director at the YOS facility, said that he does not believe that having both Schutter and Wille in the prison will lead to problems, even if there are bad feelings between them.
“I believe that, with the way our campus is set up … we’d be able to separate those folks,” he said, noting that the campus is made up of seven residential buildings, only four of which are currently occupied by youthful offenders.
Asked if Schutter would be able to arrange for someone else to harm Will, Gomez conceded, “I guess that’s always a possibility.”
But he was hopeful that the programs at the facility, which deals with a population that is roughly 55 to 60 percent gang members, are effective in reducing the “gang mentality” so that such problems would not arise.
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