Ousted detective’s records figure in child-porn case | PostIndependent.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Ousted detective’s records figure in child-porn case

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The recent dismissal of a Garfield County sheriff’s detective may figure in a case against Parachute resident Dennis Salmonsen, who is accused of distributing child pornography.

Garfield District Judge James Boyd agreed on Tuesday to review the personnel file of former deputy Eric Ashworth, who left the sheriff’s department last month.

Ashworth left under suspicion that he used an agency-owned credit card to pay for meals for which he already had received a per-diem payment.



Ashworth’s departure was the subject of a memorandum from District Attorney Martin Beeson, who by law had to inform defense attorneys in cases where Ashworth was involved.

Salmonsen, 36, was arrested on Oct. 19, 2011, following some three months of investigation by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.



Using forensic computer techniques, the sheriff’s department reportedly tracked Salmonsen’s activities on the Internet and then searched Salmonsen’s home in August 2011.

The search, according to the department, turned up evidence that subsequently led to Salmonsen’s arrest.

Ashworth apparently was involved in the Salmonsen investigation, and defense attorney James Fahrenholtz argued that Ashworth’s dismissal might have a bearing on the Salmonsen case.

Fahrenholtz stated in court on Tuesday that the former deputy had been “fired” for “potentially padding his expense account” while conducting his job.

Fahrenholtz said such conduct, as well as any internal investigative reports about the matter, might have an effect on Ashworth’s credibility as a witness in the case against Salmonsen.

Ashworth’s departure from the sheriff’s office also has figured in the district attorney’s case against Marcus Bebb-Jones, a British gambler who lived in Grand Junction in the 1990s and is accused of murdering his wife during that time.

Ashworth was a key prosecution witness during a three-day preliminary hearing in the Bebb-Jones case in March that resulted in the case continuing to trial.

A trial date in that case has not been set.

Before Judge Boyd on Tuesday, assistant Garfield County Attorney Kate Johnson argued against releasing Ashworth’s entire personnel file. She said another internal departmental investigation of Ashworth had been conducted in a matter unrelated to the expense-accounts issue.

“It had to do with insubordination with a higher-up officer,” Johnson told the court, and therefore is not relevant to the Salmonsen case.

“The court should be the one that determines what is relevant and what is not,” Fahrenholtz told the judge.

Boyd agreed to examine Ashworth’s personnel records as they pertain to the investigation of the financial accusations, but he reserved judgment on whether he would examine the entire personnel file.

Salmonsen, who is free on a $50,000 bond, is due in court again on July 10. A trial date in the case has not yet been set.

jcolson@postindependent.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: iconModerator iconTrusted User