Two plead not guilty in trooper shooting |

Two plead not guilty in trooper shooting

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Two more individuals accused of being accomplices in the shooting of a Colorado State Patrol trooper pleaded not guilty last week.

Police believe Steven Appl shot Trooper Brian Koch during a traffic stop near Silt in October 2006. Koch survived, thanks to the bulletproof vest he was wearing, but suffered serious injuries. Appl later shot himself to death at a police checkpoint; three people suspected of aiding Appl were arrested after the incident.

Nichole Denise Brownell, 40, and Wayne Daniel Hangs, 45, entered not guilty pleas in 9th Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs on Friday. Hangs was charged with being an accessory to a crime and tampering with evidence. Brownell was charged with the same crimes, plus marijuana charges.

Cori Elizabeth Graham, 28, also charged in connection with the case, previously pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence, obstructing a peace officer and two counts of being an accessory to a crime.

Each has retained a different private attorney and all three have trials scheduled in 2008. Graham’s trial is set for March while the other two are scheduled in May.

Police believe Appl was hiding in Hangs’ Silt-area home, and that Brownell, who also lived there, took Graham to the home and asked her to drive Appl to Silt in hopes of helping him escape. An arrest affidavit says Appl at one point buried himself in the yard, successfully avoiding being discovered by a SWAT team.

Graham is suspected of trying to help Appl by driving him, although her attorney, Walt Brown, said previously that she drove the car because Appl was armed and she was afraid of him.

A message for Koch left with the State Patrol wasn’t immediately returned, and Capt. Rich Duran said the patrol didn’t wish to comment on the court proceedings.

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