David Siller and Giles Charle were released from Routt County Jail on Wednesday evening. The men were sentenced to six months in jail for taking produce from Sweet Pea Produce, but their sentence was reduced to time served after their story caused public outcry from across the country.
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Good morning. I'm Laura Meerkatz, online content editor for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and I'll be moderating the chat with Giles Charle and David Siller. Welcome, Giles and David.
Hello Laura, thanks for inviting us
welcome back to freedom! How was your night?
enjoy the boat before taking off and if ever a next time: never plead guilty again. a jury would have saved you....
Several readers have said that a jury would not have convicted you of a felony. Could you comment on the advice you received and what ultimately led you to accept a plea agreement?
Slept great, thanks.
It was a difficult desicion and facing it last week was overwhelming.... However, with advice from several lawyers that we had the possibility of loosing a felony if we went to trial, we decided to take Option #2 on the plea agreement, which was 6 months in jail. Realistically, based on the facts of this case, a jury might have thown this case out, however our lawyers adviced us that with Kerry St. James as District Attorney he might try to give us a felony just for dumpster diving. Because under Colorado law technically, tresspassing and then leaving with anything from the property, even if it is "trash" is a felony.
Did Kerry St.James lie about your actions?
I do not think he lied about our actions. Origionaly prosecuted based on what the police reports said because that is all he had to go off of. And unfortunatly the police reports did not reflect at all what accurred that evening.
What happened on the night of June 26? What did you take and where did you take it from?
I'm not going to write an essay about this one, because it's been stated many times in the newspaper. But I will fill in a couple points of light on it. What happened... we had the beginning of the most unique summer experience from a temperary slip of judgement, which at the time felt fine. What did we take... food from a box in the rear of the store than was directly next to a trash can. It was definitely trash because most of it was going bad, but a few items were salvagable. We both agreed that as scores from a dumpster that we had had before, this was kind of mimimal, but we decided to take it because possibly we could use it or donate it at the Rainbow gathering..
Oh yeah... Side note. SHOP AT SWEET PEA!!!!!!! Have a potluck with all the produce you by.. Or just invite your neighbors over and offer them food just to be neighborly!!
Will you two every come back to Steamboat? Will you ever recommand someone to visit Steamboat?
ill come back to Steam Boat!
I wasnt feeling to good about being here when I was forced to. But this town has come through huge to help us out and turn around this injustice. lovn you guys
Right now, I just want to go home and hug my family and friends back home. I'd like to see if I get the job back teaching children Environmental Education that I was supposed to begin in mid-july when I was origanally planning on returning home.
As for Steamboat Springs. It sure it beautiful here and I would love to see it in the snow sometime and try skiing on the mountain. Other than this criminal case, our stay in the town has been really nice. Steamboat has a lot to offer. I don't think anybody should not visit this city because of the District Attorney or what occurred in the court case. I would recommend, just like visiting any new place, to be careful. You never know what the laws are, or who could be pissed off that you are there. This is especially true for a rainbow gathering. I think John Hieb said it well the other day.... That in a gathering of 15,000 monks, there is bound to a couple who get in trouble with the law.
For the most part, the rainbow gathering brought a lot of good to this area. I hope to be back someday!!! Maybe not as a gathering participant or a accused criminal next time.
Hi Giles, this is Eric. Congratulations on your freedom! Since I know you well, I can judge that your intentions were not malicious in this incident. But what can you do for people who don't know you to reach that conclusion? I noticed that the ADA in his letter does not admit any error at all. How about revealing your character for people by taking responsibility and apologizing for your actions, which were at least thoughtless and rude, and caused a huge hassle for the Sweat Pea owners?
Also, a lot of chores around the house here have piled up while we were following this whole thing on the internet, and I think it would really salve your conscience to tackle some of them for us. Or is that pushing it? Cheers, Eric
What we did was wrong, and we have accepted a misdemeanor for it. I've definitely learned many lessons from this whole thing, and while today is a great day.... it is not the end of how this will affect me in the future. I am glad I can begin picking up the pieces now and not in three months time.
As for the district attorney... I guess there needs to be some more light shed on how he dealt with this case. What happened in his conversation with John Hieb? Did he disregard Hieb's statements that the owners did not believe we needed jail time when he called 3 weeks after the incident. Did the ADA disregard Hieb's statement at that time that he didn't think we entered the store. If he did disregard these statements, which would had led any person in their right mind to drop the case immediately, then we need to ask if he is the right person for the job as ADA.
Thanks for putting me on the spot Eric
We trespassed on Sweet Pea property, we commited a crime. I am very sorry for all that Mr. Hieb and Mrs. Zambrano have been through through all this. I am looking forward to visiting them today, (provided the judge lifts our restraining order) and thanking them for all they have done to help the community understand the truth of this case, which is that we did not have any intention of taking anything of value to them, we did not take anything of value, or jeprodizing The Sweet Pea bussiness
Can you be specific about when you said that the publicity of your case made your stay in jail harder?
Let me tell you about jail... With 108 days ahead of us, we tried to settle into a routine very early of a lot of Yoga, meditation (www.dhamma.org), reading books, playing chess, writing letters, and chatting. While this is difficult to do all day long, we were beginning to settle in because we really thought we had no chance of getting out. With the publicity, it just made our focus in these endeavors more difficult. I kept on wondering if this publicity was going to change the ADA's plea bargain. Why wouldn't it. The feeling on this issue kept on changing dramactially from slightly possible, to "why not," to the ADA saying justice was served, to the final visit from our lawyer saying that he changed the plea agreement.
Mostly it was great, it was great to know that people were thinking about us and finally understanding that we were nor deserving of such a harsh punishment. but it did make it hard to settle into life in jail, because we had hope of getting out. It is pretty crucial to settle in when you are faced with being in for a few months
Glad you are out. Do you think that you would have gotten out with out so much public outcry?
we would have been in there for the long haul without this publicity. I am so thankful that the truth came out!!!
Hell no, The media attention and public outcry was our only hope of getting out. We were in there we were totally thinking that we were going to be in there for awhile. It was not untill we read the first article and started hearing about the response that we started getting any hope
If you had money between the two of you, why go for rotten fruit in the garbage?
Why prepare more food when you got perfectly good leftovers in the fridge?
Gas is expensive these days. The rainbow gathering was free, and I was bringing a lot of food donations there already that I had brought with me from Philadelphia. <--- I had bought these items though. Getting the fruit from the dumpster is just a personal practice of bringing what someone might call waste out of the trash and finding a use for it... Have you seen some of the things that people throw out in this country... If you haven't looked, it's worth it. You might find something you like.
Where and what are you guys going to do now?
Going to soak at strawberry
Then thinking about heading west
anybody going that way? wanna give me a ride?
That's about all the time we have for questions today. Is there anything you'd like to add while you're here?
SHOP AT SWEET PEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are good people. This town along with every other town in our country needs local businesses. I hope with all the publicity from this, that their business grows. I hope it has come out that they are very good people operating a business they really care about.
In the end I hope everybody forgives everybody. As much as I want to visit and go shop at Sweet Pea this afternoon, I also hope that Kerry St. James goes and buys the veggies he is going to have for dinner tonight there as well.
(From Giles Charle) I would just like to again thank everyone for helping us get through this and being active about there consern. This experience has given me a renewed faith in the media and the power of people getting behind a cause. Our case is so insignificant compared to the huge number of people unjustly imprisoned. Lets keep on fighting