Dispositions reached in Routt County wildlife cases
April 2, 2013
The last of four cases against four Michigan men accused of committing wildlife crimes concluded last week.
Last spring, the Routt County District Attorney's Office filed a combined 32 misdemeanor charges and six felony charges against the men after a joint investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Travis Thorson was accused of threatening undercover wildlife officers with an air rifle, threatening to scalp one of them with a knife and committing five misdemeanors related to wildlife crimes in southern Routt County during a period of several years. Six misdemeanors and three felony charges were filed against Thorson.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated illegal possession of wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife, menacing and felony menacing. He received a deferred judgement for the felony menacing charge, meaning the charge will be dismissed if he follows the conditions of two years of supervised probation. Thorson also was made to write a letter of apology, undergo an alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment, and to do 100 hours of community service.
Thorson's brother, Ole Thorson, faced 17 misdemeanors and three felonies. According to the charges, Ole Thorson illegally hunted bear, bobcat and elk in Routt County throughout a three-year period. The felony charges were willful destruction of wildlife, forgery related to wildlife documents and tampering with a witness or victim. That charge stated that between Jan. 14 and April 4, he tried to get a victim or witness to "testify falsely or unlawfully withhold any testimony."
Ole Thorson pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors. They are illegally altering or transferring a hunting license, illegal possession of wildlife and theft. He was sentenced to 30 days of jail in Michigan, five years of unsupervised probation and was ordered to pay $2,500 to Operation Game Thief.
Jerome Thorson, the father of Travis and Ole Thorson, faced eight misdemeanor charges. He pleaded guilty to aggravated illegal possession of wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife and illegal possession of a bull elk. He received deferred judgements for two additional charges of aggravated illegal possession of wildlife and illegal possession of wildlife. Those charges will be dismissed if he follows the conditions of two years of unsupervised probation.
A fourth man, Todd Osier, faced a single misdemeanor charge of illegal possession of wildlife. He pleaded guilty to the charge but avoided any jail time.
All of the men had to pay fines and costs.
Dispositions also reached in several other cases
■ A 31-year-old Steamboat Springs man accused of breaking into the homes of his two bosses and stealing thousands of dollars from their locked safes pleaded guilty to felony second-degree burglary and misdemeanor theft.
Michael Head was sentenced to 90 days in jail, four years of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service and has to pay back $48,400.
■ A 27-year-old Steamboat Springs man accused of brandishing a knife, making a threat, punching a customer in the face and breaking out a window of a Yampa Street bar last June pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief. Jeffrey Colquitt was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, 48 hours of community service and had to pay $146.66 in restitution.
■ A 39-year-old Steamboat Springs man accused of jumping a 65-year-old man and hitting him with a bike lock cable last June has pleaded guilty to felony menacing. Jerome Montano was sentenced to 30 days in jail, two years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service. He also had to pay $699 in restitution to the victim and had to write an apology letter.
Two other high-profile cases remain in the court system, and the two accused men still are in custody.
■ John Brothers has been in jail for nearly a year and is awaiting a decision from the Colorado Supreme Court. The former Heritage Christian School teacher is suspected of sexually assaulting a child on eight occasions.
A preliminary hearing was postponed in May after an order from the Colorado Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court's involvement came at the request of the Routt County District Attorney's Office, which is at odds with John Brothers' defense team about whether the alleged victim in the case should have to testify at a preliminary hearing. The defense wants the child to testify.
■ The man accused of firing a gun at three people June 9 outside a downtown Steamboat bar next is scheduled to appear in court April 25.
Steven Torres' preliminary hearing was held Feb. 14. Routt County Judge James Garrecht found that probable cause existed for the case to move forward to district court, where felony cases are heard.
According to an arrest affidavit, Torres had been kicked out of The Tap House Sports Grill on Lincoln Avenue when he fired into the bar toward two male bouncers and a woman. No one was hit by the bullet, and Torres quickly was arrested after the incident.
Torres has been charged with five counts of attempted murder and a charge alleging Torres illegally discharged a firearm. There also are five crime of violence charges that are known as sentence enhancers related to the use of a firearm.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com