Liaison helps victims understand complicated courtroom proceedings |

Liaison helps victims understand complicated courtroom proceedings

For the silent victims who sit in the courtroom for each hearing for Steven Michael Stagner, there is now someone to help them understand what’s going on.

A paralegal from the Boulder County office of the state public defender, Mary Kottenstette, is acting as the victims’ liaison in the case.

“We’ve actually had a couple of meetings,” she said. “The idea is to be more victim-friendly.”

Kottenstette said that in many cases, victims can feel isolated and that feeling of isolation can be magnified when the victims don’t speak English or if they come from another culture.

“The victims and families have been very well informed,” she said, adding that she was caught off-guard by the sophistication they’ve shown in their understanding of such a complicated proceeding.

Kottenstette does not speak Spanish.

While the prospect of Stagner being found not guilty by reason of insanity has been expressed as an issue by some of the victims, she said, they are more focused on not letting the tragic events of last July be repeated.

“Their main concern that I have heard is that he not go free and that no one else suffers what they’ve suffered,” she said.

Kottenstette will be available to the victims and their families for the entire length of the Stagner proceedings.

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