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Judge denies change of venue request in Maketa scandal trial

Judge denies change of venue request

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An El Paso County Judge denied former Sheriff Terry Maketa's request for a change of venue Friday. 

Maketa's lawyers argued that he could not get a fair trial because of intense media coverage of his case.

In announcing his decision, Judge Larry Schwartz said that he doesn't believe that the level of coverage has been intense enough to taint the jury pool and therefore warrant a change of venue.

The final jury will be whittled down from a pool of 86 potential jurors. 

Maketa, former Undersheriff Paula Presley and Commander John San Agustin were indicted last May on the following charges:

  • Extortion (F4) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • Conspiracy to Commit Extortion (F5) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • Tampering with a Witness of Victim (F4) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • Conspiracy to Commit Tampering with a Witness or Victim (F5) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • Second Degree Kidnapping (F4) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley, John San Agustin
  • False Imprisonment (F5) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley, John San Agustin
  • First Degree Official Misconduct (M2) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • First Degree Official Misconduct (M2) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley
  • First Degree Official Misconduct (M2) – Terry Maketa, Paula Presley


COUNTS ONE AND TWO

Counts one and two against Maketa and Presley include extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

The indictment alleges that between September 11, 2013 and November 4, 2013, Maketa and Presley threatened to cause financial harm to a company that provided medical services at the jail.

According to the indictment, Maketa and Presley threatened to terminate a $5.2 million contract with Correctional Healthcare Companies if the company did not remove an employee who had written a complaint memo. The memo accused a sheriff's office Commander of making inappropriate comments to her and two other employees of the company.

COUNTS THREE AND FOUR

Count three, tampering with a witness or victim, alleges that on September 11 and 12, 2013, Maketa and Presley tried to coerce an unnamed person to provide false testimony or withhold testimony during an official proceeding.

Count four, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, directly correlates with count three.

COUNT FIVE

Count five, second degree kidnapping, is one of the two counts which names Maketa, Presley and former Commander San Agustin. It alleges that the three "seized and carried" someone from one place to another without that person's consent and without lawful justification. The name of the alleged victim was redacted from the document.

COUNT SIX

Count six, false imprisonment, also names all three former authorities. It is related to count five and accuses the trio of illegally confining or detaining an unnamed person. It alleges that force or the threat of force was used to detain the person, and that the person was held for twelve hours or more.

According to the indictment, an employee for Healthcare Companies and her boyfriend, a deputy at the sheriff's office, were involved in a domestic violence situation. It says that the deputy was arrested as a result of the incident.

The document goes on to allege that the woman was ordered to go into the sheriff's office, recant what she said in her original interview, and claim that she instigated the fight so that the deputy could get his job back. It says she was told that she would not be arrested if she followed these orders, but that after doing as she was told, she was arrested and spent more than 24 hours in jail.

The indictment goes on to say that the arresting officer did not feel she had probable cause to arrest the woman, but made the arrest because she was ordered to do so by her superiors.

COUNTS SEVEN, EIGHT AND NINE

The final three counts of the indictment name Maketa and Presley and are for official misconduct.

They involve adding names to a list of officers whose credibility may be compromised and a missing internal affairs file.

The list of officers whose credibility may be compromised is called the Brady list. The indictment accuses Presley of trying to put officers' names on the list because she was mad at them.

An internal affairs file for then deputy (now sheriff) Bill Elder went missing on April 8, 2013.

The indictment says Presley eventually admitted the file was at her house.

Two deputies were accused of taking the file and ultimately lost their jobs over it, but the indictment says they were in no way involved and alleges they were targeted because they were looking into the possibility of unionizing the sheriff's office.

 


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