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DA Myers to take the stand

Mac Myers
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Ninth District Attorney Mac Myers and four DA’s office employees have been subpoenaed to testify on how much they knew about former Silt police officer Michael Williams’ criminal past, a public defender said Wednesday. “I’ve got several subpoenas out,” Garfield County public defender Greg Greer said.The subpoenas compel 9th District Attorney Mac Myers, deputy district attorneys Trisha Lacey, Jan Hindman-Shute and Jason Jovanovich, and office administrative assistant Sheila Onsgard to appear in district court on Friday. Greer said he plans to ask them how much was known about the potential impeachment information concerning Williams.”Different attorneys have different pieces of the puzzle,” Greer said. “I won’t necessarily call all of them. Mac Myers and Trish Lacey I definitely will.”Myers and his subpoenaed staff are set to appear in 9th District Judge T. Peter Craven’s courtroom on Friday. Greer said they will be asked to testify about what information each knew about Williams’ past conviction in a case against 28-year-old Shane Nicholson of Rifle. The hearing is scheduled to last two hours. Myers did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment on the case. After filing a motion to withdraw one client’s plea on June 23, Greer filed motions for nine other clients on July 11. These motions were filed on behalf of three clients who are now serving prison sentences, one who has finished a one-year prison sentence, two who served time in Garfield County Jail and three who remain on probation.Greer also said there will be more of these motions filed in the coming weeks. Each of the motions was filed in connection with the alleged failure of the 9th District Attorney’s Office to submit information to defendants that could have raised questions about the credibility of former Silt police officer Michael Williams. Myers has said there could be as many as 190 criminal cases where information questioning Williams’ credibility might not have been provided to defense attorneys by the district attorney’s office.

The “potential impeachment information” about Williams is a document of more than 400 pages. It explains that when Williams was a police officer at the Frisco Police Department, he was arrested on felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant and tampering with physical evidence in a drunken driving arrest. Williams allegedly administered an alcohol breath test twice and threw away the lower results of the first test.Williams later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of first degree official misconduct and was forced to resign from the Frisco Police Department in 1997. When Williams was hired as a full-time Silt officer in 1999, Myers’ office began a policy of informing all defense attorneys whose clients were arrested by Williams that the officer had a conviction on his record in Summit County. That information was supposed to be given to defense attorneys as they prepared for trials or advised their clients about their cases. It could have allowed attorneys to raise questions about Williams’ credibility as an investigator or a witness in those cases.But Myers admitted in an April 10 letter that the potential impeachment notice might not have been consistently distributed. Williams resigned from the Silt Police Department on May 2, less than a month after Myers sent copies of that letter to area defense attorneys.

Friday’s hearing will deal solely with the Nicholson case. Nicholson was arrested on Feb. 12, 2002, after being pulled over by Williams in Silt. Nicholson pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance on May 2, 2002. The other convictions being questioned by Greer range from auto theft to possession of drugs to driving without a license. The common thread weaved into each case is that Williams was either the arresting officer, a witness in the case, or both. “It’s just like Watergate,” Greer said. “What did you know, and when?”The DA’s office gave the public defender’s office notice that it failed to turn over information about Williams in each of the nine new cases. “So in effect, I didn’t pick these cases, the DA picked these cases,” Greer said.



Greer also filed motions to withdraw pleas in cases against:-Adam Burke, 20, of Silt. He pleaded guilty to vehicular eluding and no insurance. Burke was sentenced to two years in state prison, where he remains, Greer said. -Ray Wasson, 27, of Rifle. He pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree burglary of a building. He received a three-year sentence in state prison and he remains there, Greer said. -Donald Smith, 31, of Jonesville Ind. He pleaded guilty to second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. He served one year in state prison, Greer said. -Brian Rhoads, 32, of Glenwood Springs. He pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance. He received four years of probation, court records show. -Marianne Gazillo, 53, of Rifle. She pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft. She was sentenced to two years in the state prison, where she remains, Greer said. -Kelly Phemister, 34, of New Castle. Phemister pleaded guilty to driving without a license in Garfield County Court, court records show. -Jason Tamburello, 26, of Rifle. He pleaded guilty to forgery of commercial checks. Court records show he served 83 days in Garfield County Jail and was given three years of probation. -Jason Edwards, 30, of Silt. Edwards pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree trespass of a dwelling. He served 90 days in jail and was handed three years of probation, court records show. “At the very least, I’d say they get to start over at square one with the benefit of the information that should have been disclosed to them,” Greer said of the defendants.Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.com


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