Chatting with David Siller and Giles Charle

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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 across the country.

Q: 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?

David Siller: It was a difficult decision, 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 No. 2 - the plea agreement, which was for six months in jail. Realistically, based on the facts of this case, a jury might have thrown this case out. However, our lawyers advised us that (Assistant District Attorney) Kerry St. James might try to get us on a felony. Under Colorado law, trespassing and leaving with anything from the property, even if it is "trash," is a felony.

Q: Did Kerry St. James lie about your actions?

Siller: I do not think he lied about our actions. He originally prosecuted us based on what the police reports said, because that is all he had to go off. And unfortunately, the police reports did not reflect what occurred that evening.

Q: What happened on the night of June 26? What did you take and where did you take it from?

Siller: 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. What happened? We had the beginning of the most unique summer experience resulting from a temporary slip of judgment, which at the time felt fine. What did we take? Food from a box in the rear of the store than was next to a trash can. It was definitely trash because most of it was going bad, but a few items were salvageable. We decided to take it because we could possibly use it or donate it at the Rainbow gathering.

Q: Will you two every come back to Steamboat? Will you ever recommend that someone visit Steamboat?

Giles Charle: I'll come back to Steamboat. I wasn't feeling too 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. I'm lovin' you guys.

Siller: Right now, I just want to go home and hug my family and friends. I'd like to see if I get back the job teaching children Environmental Education that I was supposed to begin in mid-July, when I was originally planning on returning home. As for Steamboat Springs, it sure it beautiful here and I would love to see it in the snow 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 our 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.

Q: 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 Sweet Pea owners?

Siller: 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.

Charle: We trespassed on Sweet Pea property. We committed a crime. I am very sorry for all that Mr. Hieb and Mrs. Zambrano have been through. I am looking forward to visiting them 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 from them.

Q: Can you be specific about what you meant when you said that the publicity of your case made your stay in jail harder?

Siller: Let me tell you about jail. With 108 days ahead of us, we tried to settle in to a routine of a lot of Yoga, meditation, 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 dramatically 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.

Charle: Mostly it was great. It was great to know that people were thinking about us and finally understanding that we were not deserving of such a harsh punishment. But it did make it hard to settle in to life in jail, because we had hopes of getting out. It is pretty crucial to settle in when you are faced with being in for a few months

Q: Do you think that you would have gotten out with out so much public outcry?

Siller: We would have been in there for the long haul without this publicity. I am so thankful the truth came out.

Charle: The media attention and public outcry was our only hope of getting out.

Q: If you had money between the two of you, why go for rotten fruit in the garbage?

Charle: Why prepare more food when you got perfectly good leftovers in the fridge?

Siller: Gas is expensive these days. The Rainbow gathering was free, and I was bringing a lot of food donations that I had brought with me from Philadelphia. 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.

Comments

digg_user 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey way to go, let's see if we can nab ALL the trespassers with 6 months in jail.

Oh, but those meth-heads can just run around freely...as well as child molester police chiefs, not to mention the psychotic violent aggressors...

I guess Steamboat will be a lot more "pristine" if we just curb the trespassing but let the other problems remain huge issues.

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digg_user 8 years, 3 months ago

Well at least we're on the same page on a couple of things.

Don't get me wrong either, I think burglary warrants 6 months in jail. Our only contention is that these guys trespassed or burgled.

Honestly I am no fan of the Rainbow group either. Salt of the earth or whatever some call them there is the undisputed fact that they attract some of the country's worst bottom-feeding scumbags, and yet as a group they do nothing about it and those kinds of people seldom "rehabilitate" or ever improve as a result of being associated with the group. This in of itself defines the group as a whole, whether they like it or not.

However, judicially adjudicating someone on said premise is called discrimination. That, or in your case prejudice, which is senseless.

The best way to influence is by example, not expression of opinion. Now, it's not that I profess I "practice what I preach". However, given your obvious disdain for them it's interesting that you'd so quickly attack the group as what appears a means to justify your opinion on the matter.

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matilda 8 years, 3 months ago

To 379664: You are prejudice, which is senseless.

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angelina_jelly 8 years, 3 months ago

I do not think that it is fair to accuse Ms. Numbers of prejudice in these posts.

To accuse her of prejudice is, essentially, to accuse her of pre-judging or forming an opinion about a person(s) as individuals by assigning to those individuals stereotypical charactaristics of a an affiliation, subculture or race without any basis other than the affiliation itself.

Ms. Numbers had made it very clear in her posts that she has valid reasons, based on her own personal observations --she actually visitied the site of the Rainbow mess in the forset-- and based on the facts of this case which reasons form the basis of her opinion about the two defendants and the Rainbow Group.

Additionally, I am sure that Ms. Numbers personally experienced the externalities caused by the RFers, in particular, the drain that they imposed on law enforcement officers and the drain they imposed on the local health care industry (many of them requested or required services for which they had not money to pay and no insurance).

Peace and love are wonderful concepts! However, I refuse to attribute any positive effect that the RFers have on society and on this community in particular to the extent that it is very clear that, in general, they impose economic externalities upon society. In other word, they are "free" at the expense of those of us who are hardworking, responsible and committed to paying for all goods and services we consume in full and on time.

I think I owe it to Ms. Numbers to chime in here given that I have been at odds with her on other issues in the past.

By the way....these two irresponsible flippant MEN did mention that they will return to Steamboat Springs in the future for the sole purpose of attending FREE CONCERTS. That about figures.....

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matilda 8 years, 3 months ago

^To accuse her of prejudice is, essentially, to accuse her of pre-judging or forming an opinion about a person(s) as individuals by assigning to those individuals stereotypical charactaristics of a an affiliation, subculture or race without any basis other than the affiliation itself^ Exactly what she has done, not all people assosiated with the Rainbow Family fly flags upside down, (an old story) Many bathe regularly, not all dumpster dive or are criminals, many work, pay taxes etc. Hey, i don't think ALL people in Steamboat are idiots.....

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matilda 8 years, 3 months ago

,s, I'll bet your dogs don't have fleas because you and yours are so perfect. You formed an opinion WAY before you knew of the urinating part. All people affiliated with the Rainbow Gathering are the same, just as all Jewish people are the same, all black people are the same, all stupid whiney dog owners are the same....like i said not ALL people in Steamboats are idiots but if it itches #,s go ahead and scratch....

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

I personally think the town of Steamboat Springs ought to invest in muzzles for Numz, Jelly and St. James. Your town might be a much more pleasant place to visit if they are under control of the animal control officers.

Sorry, Numz. Started to warm up to you there for a minute, but you're just too wrapped up in your p.o. hubby and human extrements to be worth your weight in words.

If Sweet Peas isn't too concerned about urine, I don't think you should be either. Chill out, have a drink, get a good night sleep and wake up realizing the truth is not all about you.

Luv, Hon.

OOT

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

Another thought - this one for the Steamboat Pilot and Today - I think it's time to put this story to bed. You keep putting stories out there for people to comment on - well, surprise - It's over and done. Like it or not. Siller and Charle walked away. Felony - misdemeanor - poor judgement; doesn't matter. They walked away almost a week ago. Let it go.

If you want to have discussions, I think you should be discussing - with local residents - where to go from here. Many locals expressed a great deal of disdain for the DA and ADA. So pick up other stories and commentary and let the people of SS debate. It's not all about Charle and Siller anymore. Those of us from the outside made our comments and accomplished what we felt was needed. Don't beat a dead horse. Move on to your real issues.

Peace, SS!

OOT

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cheesehead 8 years, 3 months ago

OUT Let it go? Its you people that blew this whole thing way out. I don't care where you live, if you choose to represent yourself in a felony court case, you damn well better be ready to accept what you get. If they had gotten someone to represent them this whole thing would've been dropped. like I said before, this is why you PAY for goods and services, instead taking what you think someone doesn't want and getting legal advise from friends.

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

This will be my last post on the topic - and I'm sure a few of you are happy to hear that.

I began posting on this board for one reason and one reason only. The punishment did not fit the crime. That was expressed in the very first post on the very first board. "Maybe they should have left a note. That seems to work for some".

My disgust was with the way your ADA penalized these guys for what amounts to some childish BS. Were they in the wrong? Yes. They were. Was the 10 days they spent in jail sufficient punishment? In my opinion, even THAT was over kill, but much better than 6 months.

What I learned by interacting with the locals was:

A. They don't like the DA and ADA.

B. They don't like Rainbow Family members.

C. They don't like anyone outside of SS saying they're out of line.

Oh well. My goal was to make sure that Siller and Charle got an "appropriate" sentence for their crime. There are some locals that think that urinating anywhere other than a clean public restroom is a felony. This person (or persons) needs help.

My other issue was with the owners of Sweet Peas being threatened and harrassed because of their "prosecution" of these two young men. I personally spoke with Jonathan and I found him to be very straight forward and upfront. I asked him a couple of direct questions which he answered, in my opinion, very truthfully. He impressed me as an honest, hard working, thoughtful person. That the very vocal persons on this board have slandered him (and you know who you are, N and J....) makes me want to throw up. They have their own personal motivations.... but that's just the point. They are PERSONAL. Those of us who don't live there, aren't bothered by the RF, aren't harrassed by your allegedly incompentent DA and ADA, we can look at it from a different point of view. more next post...

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

The rest of my comments:

Cheesehead, I have no vendetta with you. You took offense to what I said, so be it. I think that that SP&T needs to refocus on some other topics. This story is over and done with. No further RF bashing, or Locals bashing or out of SS bashing will change a damn thing.

I've followed this story since early Friday morning 9/1 when the AP article was posted on AZcentral. I've read hundreds of posts on both sides of the issue. It still boils down to the very first post, referenced above: "Maybe they should have left a note. It seems to work for some."

If they had been Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and had left a note - even if they DID pee - they would not have been prosecuted.

That is discrimination.

And that is what will bring this country to the bowels of hell, when all is said and done.

And you all can post all your laws and interpretations and disgust with RF and backing or lacking of backing of your DA and ADA, and be lawyers, paralegals, police officers, locals, RF members, whatever .... you're not going to change my mind. Regardless of whether or not they PEE'd - when Jonathan Hieb told Kerry St. James that he did not support the punishment and Mr. St. James said he was going to make an example of these two young men, he overstepped the boundry of right and wrong and this issue was brought to the national public's attention.

If your ADA had paid more attention to the wishes of his "victim", SS would not be on the national radar. So I say again... it's time for the Pilot and Today to take this to another level and take Siller and Charle out of it.

Peace, SS!

OOT

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

By the way, Cheesehead, they did NOT represent themselves. Nor did they rely on the SS public defender. They hired a lawyer. Read the other 1000 or so posts before you state that they represented themselves.

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JazzSlave 8 years, 3 months ago

"...bowels of hell..."

That kind of hyperbole is what makes it impossible to take people like you seriously. It is entertaining, though, so keep it coming!

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cheesehead 8 years, 3 months ago

It was my understanding that they "consulted" lawyers, didn't actually hire one to contact the victims and ask what they wanted. So I guess its ok for the defense not to give the judge a victim's statement, but if the DA doesn't the whole county should be disgraced. interesting.

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

Off topic, Numz: In answer to your question-

"If you are so hell bent on seeing justice done, when might we expect you to make a stink over the magic wand wave when Billy Kidd committed almost the same crime? When can we expect you to render your voice in attempting to get Romick's license removed for on-going DUI issues?"

My answer is "When the Associated Press finds the story so ridiculous that it is plastered all over every news website in the country. If the SS Pilot and Today has a message board on it when I see it on all the news links I read, I'll be here with my 2 cents worth."

This is exactly what I meant when I said that the SS Pilot needs to put this story to bed and find something else for everyone to debate. That's exactly what I meant when I said it came down to the sentiments expressed in the very first post on the very first board "Maybe they should have left a note. That seems to work for some."

Trust me - if it was national headline right now, I'd be there!

Bye.

For now.

OOT

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outoftowner 8 years, 3 months ago

Numz - I am not back with you. I saw a story that got my attention. I got involved in it. Sorry I bored you with my posts, but it just happened that I had 5 days off to follow the story from start to finish. The story hit the AP Friday morning of a holiday weekend when I had a couple of extra days off. I told you in my first post - I'm a news junkie.

I find it DISTURBING that you on the one hand, are so indignant about what happened at Sweet Peas that night, but on the other hand you demean Jonathon the way you do. You are two-faced, in my opinion, and you're only out here to incite conflict. You waiver between wanting to punish to the max and ridiculing your DA for not punishing enough. Wishy washy at best. At least everyone KNOWS were I stand. WHEN IN DOUBT, LET EM OUT. I won't say that you're biased because you are married to a police officer, but I think you need to reflect on that for a while. As you know, I was married to one for 13 years. I heard a LOT of BS that would curdle your blood. I don't have a whole lot of trust and respect for the boys in blue, having been on the inside for a number of years. Some go one way, some go another. I also won't say that you're wrong to support what your hubby does, but I also have to admit that a badge and gun don't do a dam thing for me... just my personal opinion, based on experience.

Again, I say... take a break. Have a drink, get a good night sleep and get over yourself! If it were up to you, those guys would be locked up for a long time. And they're not. So, obviously, it's not all about what you think or say. If your ADA had such a strong case, as you've posted about incessantly, why did he cave in 24 hours?

Put your DUI guy in front of AP. How many times has he been stopped? Email the editor to do some stories on this. Yes, if it is an article with something worth spending my time on, I will be here. You make it sound so indecent that I might comment on something that is on the news. I really DO have a life, you know. I would never have been out googling for a Steamboat Springs newspaper and found this forum if it had not been for that story. Does it mean that the only thing I CARE about is what is in the headlines? No, it means that the only thing I HEAR about is in the headlines. Got a problem with your local drunk? Get him in the headlines - I'll be watching. Now that this website is saved to my favorites, you might see more of me.

Want to talk more? Email me. You know how.

OOT

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intowner 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey Outtie: I, for one, have appreciated your comments. "Supporting" our police officers does not mean following blindly. Furthermore, no one has ever said that the police department did anything wrong here.

This case was entirely about blatant abuse of discretion by St. James, NOT the police.

We must all remember that blindly following authority was the cause of Nazi Germany. People need to stand up for what is right, not just what is endorsed by our leaders.

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