4 southeastern Colorado inmates escape, 3 caught
LA JUNTA, Colo. (AP) — Three of four fugitives have been recaptured after breaking out of jail in southeastern Colorado.
The Pueblo Chieftain, quoting local authorities Wednesday, identified the man still at large as 23-year-old Angel Castrejon, who was facing drug charges and had escaped before from the same jail in Otero County. Those back in custody were identified as 21-year-old Curtis Apodaca, suspected of motor theft; 22-year-old Malcolm Hoffert, suspected of motor vehicle theft; and 30-year-old Johnny Nunez, suspected of burglary and forgery. All four had been awaiting court appearances.
The Otero County Sheriff's Office says two of the men rushed an officer at the 34-bed jail Tuesday night and then let the two others out of another cell. The four then overpowered another officer. The deputies suffered minor injuries.
PRISON WORKER KILLED
Prosecutor in death penalty case says Montour sane
(Information in the following story is from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com)
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors say at least one doctor who examined a man on trial in the 2002 killing of a corrections officer found him mentally fit to stand trial.
Edward Montour is accused of killing Eric Autobee by striking him in the head with a kitchen ladle at Limon Correctional Facility.
Montour pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the death penalty case. His trial began Wednesday.
Montour was serving a life sentence in the 1997 death of his 11-month-old daughter when Autobee was killed.
According to the Denver Post, defense attorneys want a judge to allow them to introduce evidence at trial they say prove Montour was wrongfully convicted in 1998 and they say that affected his mental health.
Lawmakers trying to expand duty to report threats
DENVER (AP) — Colorado mental health providers would get expanded authority to report threats to places like movie theaters and schools under a bill given initial approval in the state House.
The proposal is a response to the Aurora movie theater shooting. Currently, mental health professionals have a duty to report threats directed at specific persons. But Democratic Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora says the law is unclear if the same duty applies when a threat is directed at a location.
Melton says the therapist treating James Holmes, the shooting suspect, may not have been able to say anything about a threat to the theater if Holmes had expressed his intent.
The House advanced the bill Wednesday with a voice vote. A final vote will send it to the Senate.
Dynamite discovery closes I-70 in western Colorado
(Information in the following story is from: KKCO-TV, http://www.nbc11news.com)
PALISADE, Colo. (AP) — A stretch of Interstate 70 in western Colorado is closed as authorities remove several pounds of old dynamite found on a property nearby.
The highway closed in both directions for two miles between Palisade and Clifton.
KKCO-TV reports that authorities are concerned that if the dynamite detonates if could dislodge some rocks from the Book Cliffs — the tall, sandstone rock formations that run along the highway in the area. The Grand Junction Bomb Squad is working to minimize the chance of an explosion.
There's no estimate on when the highway will reopen. Drivers are being routed onto U.S. Highway 6 instead.
TEEN SEX TRAFFICKING
Suburban Denver man charged with pimping teens
ARVADA, Colo. (AP) — A suburban Denver man is accused of luring teenage girls into lives of prostitution with the promise of free methamphetamine.
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that 35-year-old Joe Avalos has been charged with 17 counts of crimes including kidnapping, pandering of a child, pimping and sexual assault.
They say he operated a sex trafficking ring out of his Arvada home involving five female victims between the ages of 15 and 20. Avalos allegedly advertised the women and drove them to hotels in several metro Denver communities.
One of the victims, a 16-year-old girl, fled to Avalos while on the run from another accused sex-trafficker, Robert Gonzales, who was arrested and charged with similar crimes in October.
Avalos was being held in jail and no lawyers were listed for him in court records.
Washington state issues first legal pot license
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state has issued its first legal marijuana license, launching a new phase in the state's ambitious effort to regulate a market that has been illegal for more than 75 years.
Officials granted the first marijuana growing and processing license to Sean Green, who has previously operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane as well as the Seattle suburb of Shoreline.
Green is the chief executive of Spokane's Kouchlock Productions.
The state Liquor Control Board issued the license to Green at its meeting in Olympia on Wednesday, as his supporters erupted in applause.
The board is due to issue retail licenses later this spring, with sales expected to begin in June or July.
Sales began Jan. 1 in Colorado, the only other state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.