Author:

Lance Benzel

Legal Affairs reporter

Lance Benzel covers legal affairs for The Gazette, with a focus on the criminal courts, and also writes a monthly mountain biking column entitled "Rider in Residence." He joined the newspaper's staff in 2008 after previous stops in Billings, Mont., central North Carolina and Chicago.

CHRISTMAS TREE PERMITS
Angela Mitchell and her son, Riess, 7, fight through deep snow to drag their Christmas tree to their car on Rampart Range Road Wednesday, December 2, 2015. The Pikes Peak Ranger District began selling Christmas Tree permits on Monday and permits may be purchaseed for $10 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cutting area just northeast of Woodland Park on Rampart Range Road about 3 miles from Woodland Park Middle School. Permits can also be purchased 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the east parking lot of Woodland Park Middle School. Mitchell said this is the 14th year she's cut her own tree in the Pike National Forest. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Steve Bedigian shouts "freedom" from his "freedom tower" on his property in the Hartsel Flats area on Thursday, November 10, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette
Officers and deputies involved in the Planned Parenthood shooting on November 27, 2015 bow their heads in a moment of silence for Officer Garrett Swasey, one of three people killed in the shooting, after receiving their honors during the 31st Annual Medal of Valor Luncheon at Broadmoor Hall on Friday, November 18, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette
CD10DEAR_AC27675
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - December 09: Robert Dear Jr. looks back into the gallery during one outbursts during a court appearance on December 09, 2015 where El Paso County prosecutors filed formal charges against him in the Planned Parenthood attack during which University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, Iraq war veteran Ke'Arre Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky, mother of two were killed on November 27, 2015. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - December 09: Robert Dear Jr. during an outburst while talking directly to Judge Gilbert Martinez during a court appearance December 09, 2015 where El Paso County prosecutors filed formal charges against him in the Planned Parenthood attack during which University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, Iraq war veteran Ke'Arre Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky, mother of two were killed on November 27, 2015. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post
BC-CO--Former Sheriff Indicted
Former El Paso County, Colo. Sheriff Terry Maketa and his defense team including high-powered attorney, Pamela Mackey, leave El Paso County courthouse in Colo. Springs, Colo. Thursday, June 9, 2016. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Carol Lawrence)