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#MaketaTrial: Day 3 of Testimony

#MaketaTrial: Day 3

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In day three of testimony, we heard from six witnesses in the trial of former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa.

A lieutenant took the stand Wednesday to talk about what she knows about the missing "Bill Elder" internal affairs file. Internal affairs files contain allegations of misconduct against employees of the Sheriff's office. Not every person in the office has one.

Elder was a candidate running for Sheriff at the time his file disappeared.

The big take away in court Wednesday: Who took Bill Elder's file, and why? Who was involved?

Lt. Cheryl Peck with the El Paso County Sheriff's office was in charge of the internal affairs unit that investigates allegations of serious misconduct. This relates to counts 5, 6, and 7 which include first degree official misconduct.

Peck was the first to discover that the Elder file was missing.

“On April 8, 2013, I received a call from chief Joe Briester requesting info on a previous hire. The last name was in the E-F alphabet. I told him I’d call him back after I went into the archive room. I opened the drawer and noticed there was a file hanging a inch up higher than the others. I went to push it down and looked at it and it said Elder, William. I opened it up and the jacket was completely empty. I looked through to see if someone put it elsewhere by mistake but I couldn’t find it," Peck testified.

Prosecuting attorney Chris Wilcox responded, "What was significant about the Elder file at that time?"

PECK: "He was a candidate running for the Sheriff."

WILCOX: "How did you know there was a Bill Elder file, had you seen the file before?"

PECK: "Yes, I'd seen it in September and October of 2011 and I only remember that because I was working internal affairs at the time and our file cabinets were in the interview room. I never went in and read that file just noticed it was there."

WILCOX: "Did Maketa have feelings about Elder that he disclosed to you?"

PECK: "Maketa told me he didn’t like Elder because he was crooked, sneaky and dirty."

WILCOX: "Did Maketa talk to you about what his intentions were before leaving office?"

PECK: "Yes. He stated to me one day he'd learn one big thing from the previous Sheriff that one of the biggest regrets was he didn't get rid of staff members he should have before he left office. He told me he wouldn’t have that same regret when he left office."

Prosecutors questioned peck about how Maketa reacted to the missing file.

“He told me that if everything went the way he wanted it to go, that then the media and and community would see that Bill Elder was crooked, dirty and it would knock him out of the election," Peck said.

Months later, Peck was demoted from her position.

James Reid was the second witness called to the stand Wednesday. He was the El Paso County fire marshal during Maketa's term.

As fire marshal, Reid had to put together a report on how officials handled the Waldo Canyon fire in June 2012.

In court, Reid testified that there was tension with Maketa and he wasn't satisfied with the report, but he gave no reasons why or how to fix it.

REID: "My boss said the Sheriff (Maketa) said my report was a piece of s****."

WILCOX: "What happened after that?"

REID: "I said tell me what's wrong and Ill fix the after action report."

Reid was later let go from his position.

Other witnesses took the stand Wednesday including Charles Greenlee: a former staff attorney for EPCSO, Joseph Kelemen: a former sheriff's detective, Richard Christopher Capoot, and Amy Fitch who works for the District Attorneys office.

This trial is ahead of schedule. Judge Larry Schwarts expects closing statements to be on Monday.

 


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