Jurors find Maketa not guilty

For­mer sher­iff cleared on three counts, but jury was hung on four oth­ers.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By John Wen­zel

The jury in the cor­rup­tion trial of for­mer El Paso County Sher­iff Terry Maketa has re­turned three not guilty ver­dicts and found it­self hung on four other counts.

The trial, which be­gan in Colorado Springs on June 27, con­cluded Tues­day as the jury found Maketa not guilty on charges of tam­per­ing, con­spir­acy tam­per­ing and of­fi­cial mis­con­duct.

The jury could not come to agree­ment on charges of ex­tor­tion, con­spir­acy to com­mit ex­tor­tion and two counts of first-de­gree of­fi­cial mis­con­duct.

A grand jury in­dicted Maketa last year on charges in­clud­ing ex­tor­tion, of­fi­cial mis­con­duct, wit­ness tam­per­ing, kid­nap­ping and false im­pris­on­ment — all felonies — in an 11-page doc­u­ment that also named his for­mer Un­der­sh­er­iff Paula Pres­ley, with whom the mar­ried Maketa was al­leged to have had an af­fair, and for­mer Cmdr. Juan San Agustin.

Amid the scan­dal, Maketa re­signed at the end of 2014 be­fore his third and fi­nal term was up.

The in­dict­ment, which came af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Colorado Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, stated that Maketa and Pres­ley used their power to take puni­tive ac­tion against em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors they dis­agreed with. It also al­leged the pair, along with Agustin, en­cour­aged a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tim to re­cant her story — and then ar­rested her — to pro­tect the deputy ac­cused of at­tack­ing her.

The charges of wit­ness tam­per­ing, kid­nap­ping and false im­pris­on­ment al­leged Maketa talked to a wo­man, who was a civil­ian em­ployee work­ing for a health con­trac­tor at the El Paso county jail, af­ter her boyfriend, a deputy, had been ar­rested and fired for beat­ing her.

The Colorado Springs Gazette re­ported last month that 22 po­ten­tial jurors had been dis­missed be­cause they al­ready thought the exsh­er­iff was guilty.

On Mon­day, Maketa de­clined to tes­tify in his own de­fense. The jury then be­gan de­lib­er­at­ing af­ter clos­ing ar­gu­ments in the eight-day trial.

De­spite the jury fail­ing to come to an agree­ment on four of the charges, As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Mark Hurl­bert thanked jurors for their ser­vice. The case is be­ing pros­e­cuted by the of­fice of 18th Ju­di­cial Dis­trict At­tor­ney Ge­orge Brauch­ler, who is also mount­ing a run for gover­nor.

“These were le­git­i­mate al­le­ga­tions that were taken se­ri­ously by the peo­ple of El Paso County,” Hurl­bert said in a news re­lease. “We re­spect the ju­di­cial process and ap­pre­ci­ate the con­sci­en­tious work of the jury.”

The cases against Pres­ley and San Agustin are pend­ing.

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