Defendants plead not guilty in carbon monoxide cases
A district judge Monday denied motions to dismiss felony negligent-homicide charges against a sub-contractor and a former building inspector in connection to the carbon-monoxide poisoning deaths of a Denver family of four in an Aspen-area home in 2008.Instead, Marlin Brown, the sub-contractor, and Erik Peltonen were arraigned on four charges each of negligent-homicide. Both men pleaded not guilty through their attorneys. A trial was set to begin Nov. 28.Brown and Peltonen were indicted on the charges in July 2010 after a Pitkin County grand jury held private court sessions for more than one year.Colleen Scissors, the attorney for Brown, and Abraham Hutt, the attorney for Peltonen, had filed motions to dismiss the charges based on alleged prosecutorial misconduct and lack of probable cause. Scissors said there were “five or six” primary motions to dismiss the charges against both defendants. District Judge James Boyd denied them all.Boyd said there was “some inaccurate information” presented to the grand jury, but there wasn’t a prejudicial error that harmed the defendants. Boyd also said “mistakes” were made by the prosecutor during the grand jury deliberations, but he didn’t find them significant enough to dismiss the charges.Boyd didn’t elaborate on the inaccurate information or mistakes made during the grand jury hearings.Accounts of the grand jury deliberations are sealed from public review, so the evidence against the two men is unknown. Boyd, in issuing his oral rulings Monday, spokes in vague terms about his denial of the motions to dismiss the charges. He said his written rulings, which will be sealed, will go into the details of his decisions, including information from the private grand jury sessions.Brown, 57, of Glenwood Springs, is owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing & Heating. His company performed work at a home at 10 Popcorn Lane, where the Lofgren family was found dead.Peltonen, 69, of Basalt, is a former city of Aspen building inspector who assisted Pitkin County when the Popcorn Lane house was undergoing government inspections during the construction process.Scissors said after Monday’s hearing that she was “disappointed” by Boyd’s denial of motions to dismiss the charges.The next court battle will likely be whether the cases against Brown and Peltonen should be tried together or separately.”I think we should try all these cases together,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnie Mordkin said during the hearing. “They are the same acts and the same activity. I believe they’re together.” Separating them would be a waste of judicious time, Mordkin said. Hutt countered that they are separate cases and should be tried separately, even if it does take more time. He contended case law supports that the cases should be treated independently; it’s Mordkin’s burden to prove they should be tried as one case.Motions hearings will be held this summer to decide the issue.The attorneys estimated the trial will take three weeks, potentially double that period if they are tried separately.The house where the Lofgrens were staying on a long weekend did not have a carbon-monoxide detector at the time of their deaths. High levels of carbon monoxide killed Caroline Lofgren, 42; her husband, Parker, 39; and their children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, email@example.com
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.