Charges may be filed in Skyock case
A motion was filed in district court Tuesday demanding that criminal charges be filed against the four young men accused of beating gay Rifle teen Kyle Skyock.
The motion was filed by attorney Calvin Lee on behalf of Skyock and his mother, Sharlene Skyock.
Kyle Skyock was found unconscious on the side of a road in Rifle on Feb. 11, 2001. He suffered a fractured skull, three broken ribs and multiple scrapes and bruises. After the attack, the teen claimed he was beaten by four young men, three of whom are juveniles, because he was gay.
The police and prosecutor, however, say the evidence shows that Kyle was drunk and suffered his injuries by falling down a rocky embankment along the road.
Tuesday’s motion answered a Feb. 1 motion filed by Ninth Judicial District Attorney Mac Myers stating that he would not file charges because of insufficient evidence. Myers has since said he would step aside and let the case be reviewed by a special prosecutor.
“Because of the nature of the case and the controversy generated by the case, I do not object to the appointment of a special prosecutor to review the facts and circumstances. After such a review, the special prosecutor shall decide whether to file criminal charges,” Myers wrote.
“Now the judge needs to sign an order,” Lee said.
Once an order seeking a special prosecutor is signed – a step that Lee says should happen shortly and without a problem since Myers already has consented – a prosecutor will be chosen from Moffat, Eagle or Mesa county.
“That special prosecutor will look at police reports and make a decision independent of Mac Myers as to whether charges will be filed,” Lee said.
Lee insists there is no lack of evidence. He claims the forensic evidence presented by forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Kurtzman – evidence that shows Skyock’s injuries were caused by a fall – is wrong.
A separate opinion by Dr. Michael Doberson, forensic pathologist for Arapahoe County, states that the injuries were caused by an assault, not a fall, the motion said.
Also in Tuesday’s motion, Lee points to a 1997 case he litigated. In that case, another forensic pathologist, along with a toxicologist and a microbiologist, disagreed with Kurtzman’s conclusion. Lee’s motion said expert witnesses brought in for the earlier case testified that Kurtzman’s findings were based on “junk science.”
“They were all appalled at the conclusion reached by Dr. Kurtzman, stating Dr. Kurtzman’s findings were based on junk science and all were willing to come to the trial … and testify for free,” the motion said.
Lee asserts that this should be taken into consideration in Skyock’s case.
“I would say his conclusion in this case is somewhat suspect,” Lee said of Kurtzman’s assessment of Skyock’s injuries.
Lee’s motion also includes witness statements by two girls who said two of the accused young men described the beating.
A civil suit was recently filed against the four accused young men by a gay and lesbian advocacy group on behalf of Skyock. The civil suit claims Skyock’s civil rights were violated and that he was assaulted and falsely imprisoned.
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