Judge orders mental evaluation for convicted embezzler
District Court Judge Ed Ruland delayed sentencing for convicted embezzler Cheryl Dunlap last week on an appeal from her lawyer Tom Silverman for a mental health evaluation.Dunlap was a bookkeeper for Dr. John Traul, a Glenwood Springs orthodontist, and the Colorado River Water Conservation District, also in Glenwood Springs. She was charged in June with writing 111 bogus checks for $252,087.62 on Traul’s accounts between April 1999 and February 2004.Although a psychiatric evaluation was recommended early on in the prosecution of the case against Dunlap, it was not completed, Ruland said. He also noted that on the basis of a Supreme Court ruling, defendants cannot be sentenced for a crime “if the issue is raised of mental incompetency,” he said.He ordered Dunlap to submit to a psychological evaluation at Colorado West Mental Health. She will appear in court on Feb. 24 for sentencing, at which time the evaluation report will also be considered.Deputy District Attorney Jeff Cheney objected to the delay. He said Dunlap’s actions were “a misuse of trust,” and that she has not made any restitution to Traul.”Not a dime has been paid to this day,” Cheney said.In other recent court proceedings, an arraignment hearing for Justin Brownlee was continued until Feb. 10. Brownlee, 19, is accused of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Brownlee, 19, his uncle Gene Brownlee, and wife Jennifer Ryan, 21, and Drew Gillespie, 19, were arrested at 545 Park Ave. in Rifle on Aug. 2 after the apartment was raided by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, which found over 100 marijuana plants under cultivation.Gene Brownlee claimed he was registered with the state medical pot program and Ryan was a registered medical marijuana caregiver. Police claim he far exceeded the number of plants allowed. He and Ryan are charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.Gene Brownlee will be arraigned Feb. 10. Gillespie has pleaded guilty on a charge of cultivating marijuana. Ryan pleaded not guilty and a jury trial has been set for April 5, 6 and 7. Ryan was also set to appear in court Thursday for a motions hearing but the hearing was continued to March 24.Also, a jury found Chad James Snyder, of Silt, not guilty of felony menacing, stalking and third-degree assault on his wife, Nicol Snyder. Nicol Snyder claimed that on April 13, 2004, Chad pointed a handgun at her head and at his own and threatened to kill himself. The couple were going through a divorce. She also alleged he stalked her through frequent phone calls threatening to kill her and himself.Chad James Snyder was arrested on April 21, 2004, and jailed on $100,000 bond. The trial was held Jan. 18 to 19 and was presided over by Ninth District Court Judge T. Peter Craven.
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The city of Rifle plans to allocate grant funding for improvements to Railroad Avenue and Third Street.