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Bond reduced for drifter linked to Mount Herman threats investigation

November 1, 2017 Updated: November 1, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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A judge Wednesday slashed bond for a drifter linked to violent threats on Mount Herman near Monument as prosecutors offered no indication they intend to charge him with anything more serious.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Jann DuBois cut Daniel J. Nations' $20,000 bond to $6,800, saying there was "no basis" to keep it elevated given the charges against him.

Nations, 32, drew scrutiny beginning in mid-September in three unsolved killings in two states, including the shooting death of a local mountain biker, but he hasn't been charged.

At a brief hearing Wednesday, prosecutors thinned the list of allegations against him, filing one count of attempted trespass to a vehicle, a felony, but declining to pursue an attempted assault charge requested by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office related to the same incident. Prosecutor Pam Ratigan did not say why in court. Details haven't been released.

At a previous court appearance, Nations was charged with menacing, a felony, in a separate incident. In that case, prosecutors did not file a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment requested by the sheriff's office, records show.

Indiana State Police previously identified Nations as a person of interest in the February killings of two teenage girls who went missing on a hiking trail in Delphi, Ind., but after traveling to Colorado as part of their investigation, authorities said they were unable to connect him to the deaths.

Nor has Nations been tied to the killing of local mountain biker Timothy Watkins, who was found shot to death Sept. 17 in the Mount Herman area three days after he was last seen. His wife, Katelyn Nations, told The Gazette that El Paso County investigators have questioned her about the family's whereabouts around the time of Watkins' death.

Nations' attorney, Jennifer Chu, asked the judge to impose a gag order in the cases against Nations after complaining that he has been linked by media accounts to crimes for which he hasn't been charged. The judge said she will review the request.

Nations is a former Marine who served from 2003 to 2007 and was deployed once to Kuwait, Chu said.

In appealing for a lower bond, Chu said Nations is intent on regaining custody of his children, a 4-year-old girl and an infant boy, who were placed in foster care after his arrest on weapons charges in September.

The children were taken into state custody because the car where the family had been living was seized by authorities, Chu said. She said Katelyn Nations is staying in a homeless shelter and was deemed unable to care for them.

Nations is a trained carpenter who makes up to $20 an hour building houses, Chu said.

In arguing against a bond reduction, Ratigan flagged Nations' criminal history, which includes charges or convictions in four states.

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