Steamboat Springs Rusty Prindle, who has prosecuted cases in Routt County for the past 5 1/2 years, has parted ways with the Routt County District Attorney’s Office.
Prindle, who led the Routt County office and was the lead attorney on several high-profile cases, said Wednesday that he was reluctant to talk about the circumstances under which he left.
“It was time to move on based on the circumstances,” Prindle said.
Prindle’s former boss, Brett Barkey — the district attorney for the 14th Judicial District encompassing Routt, Moffat and Grand counties — did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone Wednesday evening.
Prindle said his leaving the District Attorney’s Office did not include a severance package.
Prindle’s departure has left the Routt County office further understaffed. Erica Longnecker, who handled misdemeanor cases in the office, also left recently. That leaves Eliot Thompson, who was handling the cases in Routt County Court on Wednesday. Thompson started working at the office in January.
Turnover is not uncommon in the District Attorney’s Office when a new district attorney takes over, Steamboat defense attorney Kris Hammond pointed out while at the Routt County Justice Center on Wednesday.
Barkey, a Hayden resident, was hired in August 2011 by then District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham as assistant district attorney for the 14th Judicial District. Oldham then left the office before her term was up, and Barkey was appointed in August 2012 to fill the position of district attorney on an interim basis. Barkey then ran unopposed in the November 2012 election.
Prindle was hired in April 2008 by then-District Attorney Bonnie Roesink. He started at the office handling misdemeanor cases, and after about a year he was promoted to lead attorney and head of the Routt County office. Prindle was appointed to chief deputy district attorney in December 2010 by Oldham.
“I’m going to miss being involved in the cases I was involved in,” Prindle said.
There are several big trials coming up.
Prindle was preparing for a seven-day trial set to begin Oct. 17. Steven Torres is accused of firing a gun June 9, 2012, toward three people in a downtown Steamboat bar.
Prindle also was heavily involved with the case against John Brothers Jr., the former Steamboat Springs Christian school teacher accused of sexually assaulting a boy eight times. A nine-day trial in that case is scheduled to begin Jan. 21.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com
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