Silverthorne sexual assault trial delayed after second judge reassignment
December 19, 2017
A trial for two co-defendants in a Silverthorne sexual assault case has been postponed after a second judge reassigned the case due to scheduling conflicts in Summit County Court.
Judge Mark Thompson transferred the joined cases of Michael Gelber and Justin Erwin, both accused of felony sexual assault for the same 2016 incident, to Eagle County District Judge Frederick Gannet, citing a heavy caseload in Summit County.
Summit County District Judge Karen Romeo, who presided over a trial that ended in conviction for one of the men's co-defendants in October, recused herself earlier this month after defense attorneys accused prosecutors of "judge-shopping" by requesting the case be assigned to her court.
During a conference with attorneys on Monday, Dec. 18, Judge Gannet vacated a January trial date over the objection of prosecutors. He will be holding a hearing on the defense's motion to change the trial venue from Summit County on Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.
Paul Dee Garvin was convicted at trial in October and could face decades in prison at a sentencing hearing in January. A final co-defendant, Ramon Villa, recently rejected a plea offer and is awaiting trial.
Prosecutors allege that all four men sexual assaulted a woman on the night of St. Patrick's Day in 2016 while she was heavily intoxicated and incapable of consenting. They were all charged with class-two felony sexual assault, in addition to lesser charges.
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