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Friday, October 1: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 2: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 3: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information call 970.249.3238 FRIDAY OCT. 2ND (1-7PM) CENTENNIAL PLAZA FREE LIVE MUSIC / $15 BEER SAMPLING 421 S. 1ST STREET MONTROSE October 1 2010 VOL 128, NO. 113 50 cents MONTROSE, CO 81401 DA's arrest on sex offenses shocks community, law officers Attorney General's Office handling case, overseeing Serra's office BY KATHARHYNN HEIDELBERG DAILY PRESS SENIOR WRITER MONTROSE — District Attorney Myrl Serra did not speak as he left a local attorney's office Thursday, just hours after his arrest on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact, indecent exposure and official misconduct. But the 7th Judicial District's law enforcement community had plenty to say about Serra's arrest, using words such as "numb" and "bewildered." And Delta's police chief urged the public not to rush to judgment against a man who is innocent until proven guilty. "The first thing that comes to mind is how tragic this must be for the alleged victim. I don't know any details, or who investigated it, but it had to weigh heavily on all concerned," said Gunnison County Undersheriff Rick Besecker. "I am extremely dismayed by this. It appears on everyone's faces (at his department) that they're totally bewildered. I am, too." Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas said, "Our organization is looking at this as an unfortunate incident in which an allegation has been made. Myrl is afforded the same process as anyone else — due process. ... Mr. Serra is innocent until proven guilty. I want to caution the public not to prejudge Mr. Serra." The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Montrose Police Department, arrested Serra at his home at 7:16 a.m. Thursday. He was detained briefly at the Montrose County Jail's booking area before posting a $5,000 bond, the standard bail amount for the Formal charges filed in drive-by shooting BY KATHARHYNN HEIDELBERG DAILY PRESS SENIOR WRITER MONTROSE — Attempted murder charges have been formally filed against three men suspected in September’s drive-by shooting on South River Road. Alleged triggerman Oscar Rodriguez, 20, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit attempted first-degree murder. Angel Mahedas, 22, is accused of chasing down the alleged victims’ Blazer Sept. 19 to facilitate the shooting. He is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Oscar Saul Madrid, accused of driving RoRodriguez driguez when he allegedly opened fire on a 17-year-old and the teen’s adult brother, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. “Why are there so many charges?” Madrid, 19, asked during his brief court appearance Thursday. As he had during his first court appearance last week, Madrid asked about his bond, set at $150,000, as is bail for his co-defendants. Angel Mahedas “I’m the only one bringing in a steady income in my house. I’m afraid that if I’m in the county jail, I could lose my job,” Madrid said. He was told to take his questions up with his attorney. The alleged victims’ mother previously told the Daily Press that a bullet barely missed her teenage son, and she was outraged the defendants were even considerSaul Madrid ing seeking lower bail. The penalty range of Madrid’s charges is 16 to 24 years in prison, with 48 years possible if aggravating circumstances are proven. The other men face the same penalty range. Mahedas was told his sentences could run consecutively, because prosecutors allege there are two victims. Rodriguez’s case was continued to Nov. 3. Madrid will be seen Nov. 4, and Mahedas is due in court Wednesday. The Montrose County Sheriff ’s Office has not commented on a possible motive. Arrest affidavits refer to trouble with a gang called “BUL” and indicate that three more people — one of whom is considered a witness — were with the defendants when shots rang out. INSIDE TODAY Published for the Uncompahgre Valley and Shelley Foster of Montrose LOCAL . . . . . . . . . .A2-3,5 OPINION . . . . . . . . . . .A4 STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A6 NATION . . . . . . . . . . .A7-8 SPORTS . . . . . . . . . . .A10 OUTDOORS . . . . . . . .A11 COMICS . . . . . . . . . . .A12 crimes of which he is accused. Serra's arrest affidavit is sealed because the investigation is ongoing. He was not at home Thursday morning, and a woman who answered his door declined to take a reporter's business card. Serra was at attorney Brent Martin's office Thursday afternoon, but Martin could not be reached later Thursday to confirm whether he is representing Serra. Allegations came to light Sept. 17, according to an executive order issued Thursday by Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien. The allegations — details of which have not been confirmed — were brought to the Montrose County Sheriff's Office, which handed the investigation off to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation because the MCSO's pro- fessional relationship with Serra creates a conflict of interest. "In the course of conducting its investigation, CBI learned of additional potential criminal activity by Mr. Serra, which included allegations of potential official misconduct," O'Brien's order reads. Monday, Gov. Bill Ritter authorized the CBI to investigate those additional allegations. "Mr. Serra is a sitting district attorney and thus, not subject to investigation by his own office. Because some of the allegations against Mr. Serra concern official misconduct, it is not appropriate to request a sitting district attorney in another judicial district to investigate this matter," the order says. A separate executive order placed the Colorado Attorney General's Office in charge of the Myrl Serra case. That order also was issued because Serra's alleged criminal conduct "... took place, at least in part, in the course of Mr. Serra performing his official duties," O'Brien wrote. SEE DA ARREST, PAGE A3 County attorney reconsidering resignation KATI O'HARE / DAILY PRESS Dave Ubell, far right, a former Montrose County commissioner, asks current Commissioner Ron Henderson, far left, about County Attorney Bob Hill's resignation letter. Concerned citizens gathered Thursday morning to object to Hill's potential departure, having heard that he was pressured to quit. Hill later told the Daily Press he was not pressured to resign. STAFF REPORT MONTROSE — Montrose County Attorney Bob Hill, who submitted a letter of resignation on Wednesday, now is reconsidering his decision at the request of county commissioners. “I talked to the commissioners this morning,” Hill said Thursday. “I am considering the commissioners’ request that I remain in the same capacity.” As he and the commissioners met, about 15 protesters gathered outside the county offices at 161 S. Townsend Ave. to publicly object to Hill’s departure, saying the county attorney clearly had been pressured to resign. LOTTO RESULTS But Hill said, “No, I wasn’t under any pressure to resign ... I didn’t know what was going on outside the courthouse. I’ve been thinking about this (resignation) for some time. I’ve been around here for seven years, five as county attorney. It’s a full-time job.” So might he rescind his resignation? “The verdict is out,” Hill said. “I told the commissioners I would rethink and get back to them.” Dave Ubell, a county commissioner from 1999 to 2006, was among those demonstrating support for Hill outside the county building. TODAY’S WEATHER It will be mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy in the evening. High 80, Low 40 See details, Page A13 WEATHER . . . . . . . . .A13 OBITUARIES . . . . . . .A13 WORLD . . . . . . . . . . .A14 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . .B1-8 2-14-17-24-31 SEE HILL, PAGE A2 MONTROSE DAILY PRESS 3684 N. TOWNSEND MONTROSE, C0 81401 HOURS: MONDAY-THURSDAY 8 A.M. - 5 P.M. FRIDAY 8 A.M. - 12 P.M. TEL: 970-249-3444 FAX: 970-249-3331

Montrose County DA sex offenses

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