Colorado News Roundup: Fired Denver jail chief sues city for alleged retaliation (09.29.16)
DENVER — A former Denver Sheriff Department chief who was fired last year is suing the city over allegations of retaliation.
The Denver Post reports that Frank Gale’s suit filed Wednesday names safety department Executive Director Stephanie O’Malley as a defendant. Gale is accusing O’Malley and the city of retaliating against him because he was a union representative who was critical of his bosses.
The suit alleges Gale’s firing was intended as a message to other union members not to speak out against the department’s top level officials.
Gale was fired in January 2015 for allegedly giving preferential treatment to a department captain who faced criminal charges.
A statement from O’Malley’s office Wednesday said she hadn’t yet been served with Gale’s suit but would review it once she received it.
Man convicted of ex-wife’s death, gets life in prison
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A jury has convicted a man accused of killing a woman whose body was found following a house fire near Strasburg.
The Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office says 59-year-old Andrew Ausmus was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the Oct. 17 death of his ex-wife, 57-year-old Teresa Ausmus. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Teresa Ausmus was found stabbed to death in the home after a passerby saw flames and smoke and alerted authorities.
Investigators say the couple had recently finalized a contentious divorce.
Andrew Ausmus also was convicted of first-degree arson, for which he received a 12-year consecutive sentence.
Shiprock man found guilty of 2007 sex assault in Durango
DURANGO, Colo. — A New Mexico man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a Durango woman who died after the abuse nearly a decade ago.
The Durango Herald reports that a jury found 43-year-old Harold Nakai of Shiprock guilty of sexual assault Wednesday. It was his third trial in the case.
Two other men were previously convicted for their involvement.
Nakai had initially been convicted of sexual assault and criminally negligent homicide in the 2007 death of his girlfriend, Nicole Leigh Redhorse. But an appeals court granted him a new trial last year after finding that some of his statements to police were involuntary and should not have been used at trial.
A second trial in June ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn’t reach a decision on the sexual assault charge.
2 students charged after threatening Facebook posts
GREELEY, Colo. — Two students are facing charges after making threats about shootings at Greeley schools.
The Tribune reports that the threats spread on social media Monday and claimed that a shooting would occur at Northridge High School. A similar post also said there would be a shooting at a park on Halloween night. Several Greeley-Evans School District 6 students also received Facebook messages from fake profiles of clowns, which made further threats of a shooting.
Two students were detained in connection to the threats. One was a 15-year-old girl linked to the Northridge threat.
Later an 11-year-old boy brought a BB gun to Franklin Middle School in a backpack with an image of a clown on it. Police say the boy planned to wear clown gloves while using the weapon.
GoFundMe shuts down page for mom charged in her baby’s death
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Fundraising site GoFundMe has shut down a page raising money for a Colorado mother now charged in connection with her baby’s death.
The Fort Collins Coloradan reports the fundraising effort was started by a friend of Alexa Coria. Police say Coria’s boyfriend, Juan Canales-Hernandez, fatally hit Coria’s 11-month-old daughter with a chair. They say Coria lied about how the child was hurt in an effort to keep her boyfriend from going to prison.
Canales-Hernandez is charged with murder in the baby’s death. Coria is charged with child abuse and as an accessory to the baby’s death.
GoFundMe says it removed the page because it violated its terms of service. More than $1,300 was raised, but no money was withdrawn from the account. The money has been refunded to donors.
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