District attorney: Dotys not-guilty verdict wont impact decision to try Lincoln
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The Garfield County District Attorney’s Office plans to go forward with Samuel Lincoln’s attempted murder trial, despite a jury’s not guilty decision for the trial of a man accused of the same charges arising out of the same incident and investigation.”We’re not going to just roll over and dismiss the case against Samuel Lincoln because of a shortcoming in the case of the Lawrence Doty verdict,” District Attorney Martin Beeson said.Late Friday night, after two-and-a-half days of listening to testimony, a jury found Doty not guilty of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and menacing with a deadly weapon. Additional lesser charges had been dismissed. The charges arose from a Nov. 30, 2004, incident in which a man in a West Glenwood Springs trailer was stabbed nearly to death with a bayonet and robbed by at least two masked men.One woman’s word was the crux of the case against Doty. Sharon Coehlo admitted setting up the victim to get money to buy methamphetamine. The victim had lent her money and food, and paid for the hotel room from which the crime was planned. She testified that she saw Doty and Lincoln leave with guns and knives from the hotel room she was staying in and return later with blood on their clothes. The attackers wore masks and gloves, so only her word linked Doty and Lincoln to the crime. She made inconsistent statements and did not appear credible enough to the jury.”The problem here is that crimes committed in hell do not have angels as witnesses,” Beeson said. “The link between the crime and Doty was Sharon Coehlo. Apparently that was not enough for the jury.”Beeson said his office believes it presented enough independent evidence to corroborate Coehlo’s story. But the jury did not feel that they could believe it beyond a reasonable doubt. Beeson said Coehlo was “clearly not a credible witness on a lot of things,” and that her credibility was not helped by the fact that she was mixed up with the meth crowd and had to testify in jail garb.Elaine Craig, one of the jurors, said, “I don’t think that there was one person on the jury that wasn’t disappointed. We had no evidence except what one woman had to say, and she was pretty strung out. I just don’t think that you can depend on some woman who is as incoherent as she was and keeps changing her story.” But she added later, “Obviously the (Deputy) District Attorney has to go on what she’s handed.”Craig said that the case was not helped by the fact that the hotel worker and a man who was hanging out in the hotel room before the crime could not positively identify Doty. “The investigators could have done a better job to where we would have had something else,” Craig said. “We had nothing except her story.”Craig said that investigators said they didn’t interview Doty’s mother, whose home Doty was said to have stayed at after the crime, because she was “hard to get a hold of.” She said they didn’t find any blood during forensic testing of the vehicle that the men supposedly drove with bloody clothes and bloody weapons, and didn’t search the hotel room that the crime was planned from. The men were said to have cleaned up there after the crime. A taped interview between Coehlo and an investigator played for the jury had terrible sound quality and could barely be heard because the tape was apparently defective.”If I went to interview somebody, I would at least make sure my machine was working,” she said.Another Juror, Scott Shapiro, agreed the process was a disappointment.”I was probably more disappointed in the system that protects the criminals more than the victims,” Shapiro said. “We probably do have the best system in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect system.”He said he found out after the trial from an investigator that there had been a pattern of similar crimes in Grand Junction – multiple men wearing ski masks robbing illegal immigrants, but that the information wasn’t allowed in trial for the jurors to know.”It was definitely a disappointment, but not so much as I originally thought on the investigators’ lap,” Shapiro said. “It seems like the major problem is the fact that there’s just such a drug and illegal problem in that area of town … I had no idea.”Doty has faced numerous charges in Mesa County, and has been sentenced to a work release program, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.Beeson said the investigation was not flawed, and the case was presented by an experienced felony prosecutor.”Amy Fitch is a very accomplished and professional trial attorney,” he said.Beeson and Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch said it would be unethical to discuss the evidence in Samuel Lincoln’s trial set for April 16. Fitch did say the cases are different.”There are some additional things that pertain to Samuel Lincoln. The cases are not identical.”Defense attorney Gordon Gallagher said previously of Coehlo, “I don’t think she’ll be any more believable then than she was now.”Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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