Pueblo County, Colorado
Pueblo News 1970's

Page contributed by Karen Mitchell, news items contributed by Pueblo County Volunteers.
These news items are being extracted from the local newspapers. They are in chronological order. To search for any given name use your browers "Find" button.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 11-19-1970 - Grand Jury Indicts Judge Cabibi - District Court Judge S. Philip Cabibi, 56, of Pueblo, was charged in El Paso County District Court late Wednesday afternoon with bribery and conspiracy after the local grand jury returned an indictment against him. State Supreme Court justices were conferring at noon today in Denver on whether or not to suspend Cabibi from his duties prior to his appearance in district court here today. According to the indictment he accepted a bribe to grant probation to a convicted felon, Melvin Laverne McCallon on June 10. McCallon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell marijuana and is now believed to be in the state of Missouri. The second count says the judge conspired with Anthony J. Hegler, 29, and Thomas Incerto, 66, both of Pueblo. Hegler, assistant cashier at the Minnequa State Bank, Pueblo, was charged with perjury and allegedly perjured himself Nov. 17 when he appeared in Colorado Springs before the grand jury. Incerto was charged along with Judge Cabibi with bribery and conspiracy. Cabibi bonded out of El Paso County Jail Wednesday night on a personal recognizance bond while Hegler bonded out on a $2,000 cash bond and Incerto on a $5,000 one. Judge Cabibi has been on the bench of the 10th Judicial District for 16 years. In March, 1968 he refused to allow a Gazette Telegraph reporter to examine the financial records, including the "little black books," of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Cabibi ruled that "limited access" was possible but this did not grant access to vouchers itemizing and supporting financial statements and expenditures. Co-defendant Incerto was charged with conspiracy to procure an abortion together with a chiropractor in Pueblo in 1967. He was found guilty Dec. 3 of that year and sentenced to two to three years in the state penitentiary plus four to 10 for conspiracy, both sentences to run concurrently. After an unsuccessful appeal he started serving his time on Nov. 22, 1966. On Wednesday District Attorney Bob Russel said that the three indictments were filed after the grand jury met from Oct. 21 through Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday the meetings lasted all day. Assisting Russel in the investigation was Denver attorney James Clark who was specially appointed by Governor John Love. Since then Clark has been appointed by El Paso District Court to aid Russel in the prosecution. Russel also said that an El Paso County Grand Jury has no power to indict in any possible criminal activities in Pueblo and that to indict there must be "a connecting link" between Pueblo and El Paso Counties. Judge Cabibi and the two other men were arrested in Pueblo late Wednesday afternoon by Det. Sgt. Woodrow Littrell of the sheriff's office, three members of the district attorney's office and Bill McCord of the Central Bureau of Investigation. All three defendants were transported to the police department where they were photographed and finger printed. They were then transported to county jail to make bond. They will appear in district court at three this afternoon when they will be advised of their rights.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 5-1-1973 - Kikel Tosses Dist. Attorney into Jail Cell - Pueblo, Colo. - District Atty. Joe Losavio, freed from jail by the Colorado Supreme Court Monday within hours of being handed a 15-day contempt sentence by District Court Judge Matt J. Kikel, said later his arrest was erroneous and arbitrary. "My conduct in no way constituted contempt," said Losavio of his courtroom dispute with the judge. Their argument was over a trial date for Probation Officer Larry E. Trujillo, who is charged with falsifying records when he applied for his present job. Trujillo told the judge under oath that Losavio whispered, "It's nice to have him (Kikel) in your corner," after the district attorney's motion for a change in trial date was refused. Losavio wanted the date changed to avoid a conflict with the court date of a murder trial. Kikel asked Losavio if the remark was correct, but Losavio replied, "I'm not under oath your honor." The judge then declared him in contempt of court and ordered his arrest. Losavio was freed at midafternoon after appealing the sentence to the Supreme Court, which said it will consider the case at its Thursday conference. In his appeal, the district attorney said Kikel abused his discretion and acted without jurisdiction. Losavio added that his presence is required at the district attorney's office to attend to legal matters. In addition to seeking his immediate freedom, Losavio asked the high court for a writ of prohibition to prevent Kikel's contempt finding and requested the sentence be set aside. "The arrest was erroneous, capricious, precipitous and arbitrary," Losavio told newsmen later. He added that he couldn't see how the remark made to Trujillo could be construed as contempt. Judge Kikel later declined to comment on the incident. The district attorney was not actually jailed, but was placed in the officer's lounge of the county jail, two floors above the courtroom, by Sheriff Joe I. Torres. Torres said Losavio was placed in the lounge and not a cell to keep him isolated from the other prisoners rather than to give him better treatment. Many of the inmates, said Torres, "would be delighted to wind up in the same cell as the district attorney." Last week Kikel had accused Losavio and the district attorney's staff of conducting "a three-ring circus" in handling witnesses before the county grand jury. Losavio says the dispute concerned the activities of the grand jury bailiff, Joseph Forman, a former district attorney's investigator whom Kikel appointed to the bailiff's job. Forman failed to insure proper sequestration of witnesses and refused to stop talking with witnesses himself, Losavio charged. On Thursday Kikel termed the complaint "invalid and inaccurate."


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 2-4-1974 – Pueblo Sheriff Deputy Shot – Pueblo (AP) – Pueblo County Deputy Sheriff Norman Clark and a 51-year-old Beulah man were in critical condition at St. Mary Corwin Hospital Sunday after a shooting incident at the Three-R Ranch, Sgt. Ed White of the sheriff's department said. White said Clark, 44, went to the ranch Saturday night after he received a call for assistance. The ranch's owner, Allen L. Smith, apparently was trying to do bodily harm to himself, White said. When Clark arrived at the ranch, he was able to take two guns away from Smith. However, when Clark tried to leave, Smith pulled out a handgun and shot him several times, White said. Clark returned the fire, wounding Smith. White said both men were airlifted to the hospital by a Ft. Carson helicopter. The incident is being investigated.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 9-18-1974 – Actress, Former Pueblan, Does Centennial Films – A camera and sound crew from Ft. Carson has filmed a series of public service announcements for the Colorado Centennial-Bicentennial Commission featuring Hollywood actress E. J. Peaker, formerly of Pueblo. The spots, filmed at the commission office in Denver, will be shown on television stations throughout the state during the coming fall and winter. The messages urge viewers to volunteer for Centennial-Bicentennial committees in their local communities. Miss Peaker, who volunteered the series, returned to Colorado to visit relatives and to participate in Craft-in at Keystone ski area near Breckenridge as a drama and creative dance instructor. She graduated from Centennial High School in Pueblo, attended the University of New Mexico for two years and studied for a year at the University of Vienna. Her first professional acting role was in the Broadway play "Bye Bye Birdie." She has since played in several segments of the TV series, "Love American Style," starred in the TV series "That's Life," with Robert Morse, and has been a guest on the Johnnie Carson Show. Miss Peaker played the ingénue role in the movie version of "Hello Dolly," and will be cast as a night club singer in the movie, "Four Deuces," with Jack Palance, scheduled for release this fall.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 3-10-1975 - Colorado Boy is Missing on Mountain Hike - Albuquerque - Searchers postponed a major search today in the snow-covered Sandia Mountains for a teenaged Colorado boy missing on a hike. The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office said a small search party would walk down La Luz trail, which winds from the Sandia Crest to the base of the mountains near Albuquerque, looking for Demetrious Brooks, 17, of Pueblo. But a major search was postponed because of the heavy snow and winds. Brooks told friends last Friday he was going to hike up the eight-mile long trail to the crest and was reported missing Saturday. A storm moved over the mountains during the weekend, bringing 10 inches of new snow and four-foot drifts. Sheriff's officers and several rescue groups searched the area during the weekend, using rescue dogs and a helicopter, but found no trace of Brooks. His friends said he was wearing a down coat and heavy clothing.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 11-14-1975- Pueblo Mineral Palace: "Eighth Wonder of World - The Pueblo Mineral Palace was typical of the substantial elaborate Victorian structures built to last but destined for a short life because of their very nature. Billed briefly as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the breath taking structure housed a treasure of glittering gems and mineral specimens from around the globe. Completed in 1891, "it would prove to be a source of never ending interest to tourists and those seeking something new and wonderful," the Pueblo Chieftain of the day reported. The palace's short sighted backers were typical of those around the country building palaces for promotion purposes, although the three years, uphill struggle to get the mineral palace to materialize should have given them a hint of things to come. The manager of Pueblo's Grand Hotel, W.W. Palmer, had initiated an advertising committee for Pueblo late in 1888, about the same time the newspaper suggested that the two start a mining exchange where stock could be bought and sold and samples from the mines exhibited. The Pueblo Mineral Palace Co., with several directors from Colorado Springs and Denver who promised substantial sums, was formed at a public meeting at the Mansion House in Manitou on July 7, 1889. The company would have a capital stock of $100,000 from the sale of 10,000 shares at $1. Cost of the structure was not to exceed $7,000. Preparation for construction of the palace appeared to be going well. For $10,000 the company could buy a lot, 190 feet by 353 feet, on Pueblo's northside. Thomas F. Nelson, who dreamed up the spring palace in Fort Worth, was elected executive secretary of the company and 12 architects were vying for acceptance of their plans for the mineral palace which was to be a parallelogram of Egyptian design. With a prismatic fountain in the middle, the roof plan called for a design of three circles and three squares. Contract for construction of the palace foundation was let for $5,570 with 20 teams to haul rock from quarries four miles from Pueblo. Finally, Architect O. Burlow's plans for the mineral palace was accepted, but the directors announced a month later that a slightly modified plan had been accepted (for one thing, the parallelogram idea had been abandoned), and that they'd wait until $125,000 was contributed before starting construction of the palace. They also let a bid for the foundation to another contractor for $3,119. In the meantime there had been resignations of several directors and changes in leadership. Backing of the smelter interests was lacking and the general feeling around Pueblo was that the palace was a mighty good idea, providing somebody else provided the funds. In December 1889, successful bidders for construction of the palace were Morrison Bros. of Great Bend, Kan. In January the board decided to solicit subscriptions for $100 and $500 bonds secured by the palace building. The contractor later in the month laid down the law: the palace would be sold at a sheriff's sale if $9,023.24 plus $11.85 weren't forthcoming. The sheriff's sale was postponed until Jan.28, then until Feb. 9, when it became apparent to the contractor that the palace director had been successful in additional calls for funds. Enough money had been promised to raise $50,000 and work on the palace was resumed on April 5. Contract for the interior was awarded to Morrison Bros. and M.R. Levy of New York and Denver was awarded the contract for interior decoration. Another new president of the company was elected and work on the mineral palace forged ahead. According to the Chieftain, dedication of the Pueblo Mineral Palace on July 4, 1891, was possibly the biggest blowout staged by the town since the arrival of the first Santa Fe passenger train 15 years before. Visitors from over Colorado beat a path to Pueblo, sometimes referred to as the "Pittsburgh of the West." They saw a first class parade where one of the highlights was a handsome imitation pipe organ float with two instruments inside providing the music. In the procession was a wagon loaded with liquid refreshments sponsored by a Pueblo beer garden, and among the marchers were 18 employes of the Prudential Insurance Co., dressed in silk hats and linen dusters, each carrying a large Japanese umbrella. Among the fine speech makers they heard that day was Gov. John L. Routt who said, in part: "The very structure (of the palace) itself typifies the purpose to which it was dedicated and in gazing upon the grand results which have been achieved by the intelligent execution of the magnificent conception of the architect can one readily imagine himself transported to the Land of Aladdin or in one of the fairy grottoes of Grecian mythology!" After a tour of the mineral palace for which adults paid 50 cents and youngsters 25 cents, those attending dedication events had a barbeque on the Colorado State Fairgrounds, but missed the planned pyrotechnic display which was spoiled by a thundershower. The day's festivities ended with a military ball. The brilliant gems and minerals on display in the palace were highlighted by light from many plate glass windows and incandescent bulbs. A large dome in the center of the building was covered with silver leaf and included pictures of Colorado presenting its resources to the world. Above the frieze at the foot of the dome was a circle showing both sides of a silver dollar each 2 ½ feet in circumference. Massive columns in the palace were covered with designs in crusted ores and minerals. On each side of a stage in the center of one wall of the building was a figure that captivated both adults and kids. One was the immense figure of "King Coal" donated by residents of Trinidad, Colo., and on the other side was the fabulous Silver Queen, financed by the Town of Aspen and with an intrinsic value of $20,000. It had previously been on display at the Chicago World's Fair. For the first few days, the town of Breckenridge loaned a gold display valued at $75,000. An imitation pipe organ with lead and copper much in evidence had been made by a Pueblo smelter, and there was an exhibit of iron ore, rails and fancy articles made from steel nails by the Colorado Coal and Iron Co. Souvenirs available to the public included a silver spoon and a medallion showing the palace on one side and the Philadelphia Smelter, steel works and Pueblo's Grand Opera House on the other. Residents and visitors enjoyed the displays and special events in the mineral palace until April 19, 1894 when a sour note was sounded. The company defaulted in payment of two notes totaling $550, and possession was taken of a great many of the minerals, ores and gems on display by H.W. Preston who held a chattel mortgage. It was reported in the Chieftain that the mineral palace was in "very bad shape" and that "unless some wealthy and patriotic citizens came to the front promptly, the beautiful Mineral Palace, the pride of Pueblo, will probably pass into hands of Denver men." The palace and grounds were purchased at a trustee's sale on June 4, 1894 by John T. Higgins, attorney for the firm of Galligan, Dessey & Higgins. North District voters in the newly organized Pueblo Park and Improvement Association in 1896 approved $70,000 in bonds to include $35,000 for purchase of about 35 acres of land around the mineral palace and $10,000 for the structure to be converted into a pavilion. When the ordinance was passed it came to light that the mineral palace, specimens and exhibits were owned by four Pueblo banks, or possibly their officials, who indicated the mineral palace would remain a Pueblo enterprise. For some years, 40 karat social events happened in the palace which was also the scene in 1898 of the Horticultural Fair. Events such as automobile shows followed. The downfall of the Pueblo Mineral Palace seriously began in 1901 when ownership of the specimens collected by the Bureau of Immigration and Statistics and displayed in the palace was transferred to the Bureau of Mines. They were moved to the State Museum Building in Denver. On June 5, 1927, the Chieftain noted that the once elegant mineral palace, now only 36 years old, was ramshackled and drafty and sadly in need of repair, with the majority of its mineral collections scattered or removed or spirited away by vandals and souvenir hunters. The once grand palace was closed in 1935 after about 15 years of closures and openings. It was used in 1936 as headquarters for the Pueblo Recreation Commission, and a ray of hope for its future came in 1938 when Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers cleaned the minerals and restored the cabinets. However, later that year and into 1939, the displays were dismantled and shipped to smelters. In September 1942, the Pueblo Mineral Palace which was to have been a source of never ending interest to tourists and those seeking something new and wonderful was doomed. There was much material in the palace that could be useful for other purposes–the roof was all metal and sheet iron laced the north side. The city commissioner of parks and highways agreed to dismantle the building and turn over the scrap metal to salvage. E.J. Kelly got the contract to tear down the building on Nov.17, 1942. He would keep all but certain items, board from the windows and some steel would go to the city and the scrap metal to World War II salvage. Total returns from precious minerals sent for the most part to the ASARCP Smelter in Leadville came to about $800. For the privilege of tearing down the palace that cost a fortune to build, Kelly paid the city $633.33. An 85-foot boom was moved into place and by early summer the fabulous Pueblo Mineral Palace had tumbled into history.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 8-5-1976 - 12 Are Indicted in Gambling Probe - Denver - A federal grand jury indicted 12 persons Wednesday on charges of running illegal gambling operations or interfering with investigations of racketeering in Denver and Pueblo. Ted Rosack, agent in charge of the Denver FBI, said the gambling operations were under investigation for nine months. The indictments were handed down Tuesday, but kept secret until Wednesday, when eight of the defendants had been apprehended. The 12 are charged with taking bets on college and professional football games and collecting debts from illegal gambling. The indictment alleges that the racketeering was directed from three restaurants and bars. Indicted were Clarence M. Smaldone, Carol Jean Reeb, Paul Clyde Villano, John Henry Roufa, Dominic LaRocco, Anita D. Howland, Larry Scott Owens and Edna Francis DeSantis, all of Denver, and Samuel Foderaro, Samuel John Danna, James Gerald Carleo and John Joseph Valentich, all of Pueblo. Arraignment was set for Aug. 13 before U.S. Dist. Court Judge Alfred A. Arraj.  

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph August 28, 1976 – Escapee Kills Five; Takes His Own Life – A 23-year-old Colorado State Penitentiary inmate shot himself to death Friday afternoon after a rampage of murder and rape that resulted in the mass slaying of a five-member family in their three-bedroom ranch house a mile south of Penrose. Richard Joseph Turner, who killed all five members of the John E. Hardin family Thursday night, was found shot to death in a stolen pickup truck, Friday afternoon about seven miles northeast of Hillcrest, near Ft. Morgan, roughly 200 miles from the scene of Thursday's murders. Turner died of a gunshot wound from a .22-caliber pistol as sheriff's officers closed in on him after a manhunt that started about 10:30 a.m. Friday, shortly after the bodies of the Hardin family were discovered in their blood-spattered home. Turner, serving an indeterminate-to-five-year sentence for a 1975 Morgan County conviction of “gross sexual imposition,” was a trusty at the Fremont County Jail. He was placed there last November for protective custody. Turner was on a work detail at the Hardin ranch at the time of the slayings. Gov. Richard Lamm has ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to Turner being granted trusty status by Fremont County Sheriff John Vernetti. The victims were identified as John E. Hardin, 37, a reserve penitentiary guard who worked in the prison's minimum security section; his wife, Antoinette, or “Toni,” 37; and their three children: Lori, 15; Carol, 13; and James 2. Authorities said Mrs. Hardin and her two daughters were sexually molested, or raped. Officers said that while fleeing to Ft. Morgan, near his home, Turner took an elderly farm woman and two young girls hostage and raped one of the girls, who was 14 years old. The bodies of Hardin and his wife were found about 9:30 a.m. Friday when a telephone repairman, responding to a phone-off-the-hook service call, opened the garage door. When Fremont County Sheriff's deputies arrived, they found the infant's body in a front bedroom, and the bodies of the teenaged girls in separate bedrooms. Fremont County Coroner Henry Grabow said that late Friday it was known definitely that only one of the victims, one of the daughters, suffered a gunshot wound. He said the scene was so bloody and the wounds were so extensive, that it will take some time to determine if more bullet wounds were involved. He noted that one of the girls had a badly bruised arm, and though he ruled out possible use of a knife, Grabow said the assailant may have also used a weapon other than a gun – perhaps a “blunt” instrument, he said. Grabow said there was no evidence of a struggle. The Hardin children were found in night clothes and the parents were dressed in day clothes, he said. The females were found partially undressed. Grabow said that from his preliminary investigation, “I would guess that everybody was killed before they were (sexually) molested. At least it appears that way.” Authorities have not determined the exact time of death, however there is reason to believe that some of the murders occurred about 10:30 p.m. Apparently Hardin and his wife left Turner with their children to go out for a while. The children were apparently killed in the meantime and when the parents returned, the parents were killed while parking their vehicle in the garage. Neighbors were quoted as saying that their dogs barked because of some disturbance about 10:30 p.m. No neighbors heard shots, however. Karl Hodgson, the Mountain Bell employe who first came upon the murder scene, said he first grew suspicious when he found a gun laying on the front yard of the ranch house. Authorities said the gun was a .357 magnum service revolver believed owned by Hardin. But when deputies entered the house, they found that a gun case had been broken into and many other handguns and a number of rifles had been taken. It is believed Turner made his getaway from Fremont County using a 1972 yellow four-wheel-drive pickup truck stolen from Hardin's house. Officers said it is believed to be the truck Turner shot himself in. Thursday's manhunt narrowed when a ranch wife in Morgan County reported to sheriff's officers that a red-haired man driving a four-wheel drive pickup tried to drive across her property. The truck was spotted again north of Sterling, northeast of Ft. Morgan, where the elderly woman and two girls were taken hostage. Turner raped the 14-year-old in a barn, then left alone, officers said. A short while later, Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Leo Barker came upon the vehicle which had overheated and stalled about seven miles northeast of Hillcrest. A farmer, Burlie Segelke, had stopped minutes earlier and tried to get the vehicle started by pushing it. Barker said he ordered Segelke to approach him, then heard a shot inside the cab of the pickup truck. He found Turner dead of a head wound. Barker said he found the pistol, five rifles and a shotgun in the cab. Most of the weapons were cocked and ready to fire, he said. Apparently the weapons were those taken from the Hardin residence. A search airplane with Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents aboard landed in a nearby field just after Turner died. Turner was sentenced in Morgan County to a five-year-to-indefinite sentence at the state prison after pleading guilty to a charge of “gross sexual imposition.” That plea was made to a reduced charge stemming from charges of rape and menacing in September 1974 after two teenaged girls from Grand Rapids, Mich., told officers he picked them up in his car near Brush and attacked them on a rural road south of Ft. Morgan. Records also show that in September 1975, while on furlough from the state prison, Turner was charged with assault and battery on a state patrolman at Ft. Morgan after the patrolman stopped his car for a traffic check. Turner was moved from the maximum security unit at the state prison to the Fremont County Jail last Nov. 20 after he witnessed the slaying of another inmate. Turner was released as a trustee to work bailing hay on Hardin's ranch house property. However, it is not known why jail officials did not discover Turner's absence Thursday night. Fremont County Undersheriff Don Cook said the county jail only had one other penitentiary inmate in its custody besides Turner, and that “it's been the practice in the past for these inmates to return to the jail after they have finished working for the day.” He said, “I don't know what the arrangement the Sheriff (John Vernetti) made in Turner's case.” Vernetti was not at the scene of the murders when reporters were present, and efforts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful. Cook said Vernetti spent much of the day trying to find Hardin's parents, who live in a remote area between Canon City and Westcliffe. The parents were found late in the afternoon. According to Jerry Agee, chief of the state corrections department, Turner was placed on trusty basis Thursday by the sheriff's office and was released to work on Hardin's ranch.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph September 1, 1976 – Friends Still Asking 'Why?' As Hardin Family is Buried – When Death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, to walk the world, and bless it. – Charles Dickens. Rye – Perhaps the anger was still evident deep inside the mourners of the John E. Hardin family. If is was, it was shrouded by sadness for the five slain members. Still the faces of the large gathering expressed disbelief, shock and the tragic realization that their former neighbors and friends were being put to rest. The caskets of Mr. Hardin, 37, a reserve penitentiary guard, his wife, Antoinette (Toni), 35 and their three children, Lori, 15; Carol, 13; and James, 3, were lined up before the approximately 500 in attendance. The funeral services were held Tuesday at the Rye High School gymnasium, the town where Mr. Hardin grew up. Officiating were the Rev. Paul Leaming and Father Ronald Roche. Following the services, interment services were held at the Rye Cemetery. Survivors include Mr. Hardin's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hardin; two daughters by a previous marriage, Janda Sue and Bobbi Jean; two brothers, Frank and Jack Hardin and a sister, Susan Kiner. Mrs. Hardin is survived by her father, Esetuiel Baca; her mother Mrs. Celco Savala; two sons from a previous marriage, Larry and Troy Sanchez; four sisters, Mrs. Stella Castro, Gloria Alarid, Theresa Arudder, and Louise Whitcomb; four brothers, Richardo, Joseph, and Robert Baca and Tim Savala. The tragic events which led to Tuesday's funeral began to unfold last Friday when the family was found murdered in its Penrose home near Canon City. Richard Joseph Turner, who was working on furlough for the Hardins, as a Colorado State Penitentiary inmate, was the object of a state-wide search. He was found shot to death by his own hand, in a stolen pickup truck Friday afternoon near Fort Morgan as sheriff's officers closed in. The mourners paid their final respects to the Hardin family in the tiny town located southwest of Pueblo. Their faces still expressed the question, “Why?” Whatever the reason, or reasons, the killings prompted Gov. Richard Lamm to call a special session of the Colorado Legislature to work out a new plan to increase security at the state's penal institutions. But for the slain family, relatives and friends, it seemed of little consequence Monday. Following the services, the caskets were rolled out to the waiting hearses. As the mourners watched and comforted the family's survivors the bearers, the Fremont County Sheriff's Posse, first carried out the casket of Carol. Lori and her mother were next, then Jimmy and his father, whose casket was draped with the American flag. The tragedy had stunned the state and the funeral drew a few newspeople who, while realizing the touchy and sad situation, were not entirely welcome. A television cameraman, he related later, was approached by a member of the Hardin family and asked, “Why can't you (the news media) leave things be.” A newspaper photographer was approached by another woman who asked him, “Do you care so much for your job that you have to do this?” The photographer explained that it wasn't his decision and the woman told him, “Tell your editor to go to hell.” The tiny cemetery was soon crowded for the final service which concluded with the honor guard presenting the flag to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hardin – the final possession of their son's, but not the final memory. The large gathering soon departed leaving the Hardins, a family in life, still together as a family in death.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph September 2, 1976 – Undersheriff Wanted to Resign Prior to Hardin Murders, Sheriff Declares – Canon City – Fremont County Undersheriff Raymond D. “Don” Cooke resigned his post Tuesday stating among his reasons that, “It is my personal opinion that you (Sheriff John Vernetti) are solely to blame for this tragedy because you were aware of Richard Turner's attitude prior to the events of Aug. 27.” At a press conference in Canon City Wednesday, Vernetti said Cooke had asked to resign on Aug. 24, four days before the family was killed. “Cooke mentioned that he wanted to resign prior to the Hardin incident. I was in the process of honoring his request,” Vernetti said. Hardin, 37, his wife, Antoinette, 35, daughters, Lori, 15, Carol, 13, and son James, 3, were killed Friday by Colorado State Penitentiary inmate Richard J. Turner, who was working at the Hardin ranch on furlough from the Fremont County Sheriff's Department. Turner later killed himself near Fort Morgan as law enforcement officers closed in. In the letter, Cooke blamed Vernetti exclusively for the murders because he said the sheriff had known of Turner's “attitude” prior to the murder. Vernetti responded that he did not know what Cooke had intended by the word – “attitude.” “I don't know what Mr. Cooke meant by that statement. While Mr. Turner was here, and before he met with the July parole board, I asked them to run a mental evaluation on him because I thought he had a problem with his temper,” Vernetti said. The sheriff said he requested that a test be administered, and that he believed Turner was in the process of psychological evaluation by the West Central Mental Health Clinic in Canon City at the time he killed the Hardin family. Further questions regarding Turner's mental state would have to be referred to the clinic, Vernetti said, adding, “I'm not a psychologist.” Vernetti said when Turner was transferred to the county jail for protective custody because he had witnessed a murder, he had asked the penitentiary for his status, and prison officials said Turner was on trusty status. He also quoted a prison investigator, John Snow, as saying, in effect, that co-operation with Turner would help in the case in which Turner was a witness. Snow, earlier in the week, told a reporter that Vernetti had asked for Turner as a trusty because he liked him. Vernetti said the terms of the agreement with the prison were that Turner could not be placed on any work details outside a fenced area without the supervision of a law enforcement officer. Turner was working for Hardin, who was a reserve prison guard as well as a rancher, at the time of the slayings. Vernetti said, however, that officers from his department should have checked on Turner the evening before the slayings when Turner failed to return from the Hardin ranch where he was on work release. He said Turner was due back at the county jail after supper, but a search was not launched for him until after the bodies of the Hardin family were found Friday morning. Asked if he was aware of any time that Turner had violated terms of his work release, authorized Feb. 19, Vernetti said he hadn't. But asked if he knew of an instance in which Turner failed to return to the jail on time while working on a construction project Feb. 27, Vernetti produced a report which showed that Turner was brought back to the jail late that night by deputies who searched for him. The report said Turner admitted to drinking four beers that night. Turner's trusty status prohibited his drinking of alcoholic beverages. Cooke also condemned Vernetti for his association with inmate James Chryslar. Chryslar, on trusty status at the Fremont County Jail, was sentenced in district court Wednesday for burglary, Vernetti said. Cooke's letter said: “Chryslar has taken part in a crime of violence and I feel he is not to be trusted. I personally was involved in an arrest on this man where he stated he would not be taken alive by officers. This man now has the run of the building.” Vernetti said he could refute Cooke's charges regarding Chryslar “100 percent.” He said the inmate had never participated in a crime of violence in Fremont County. “There is no record. If Mr. Cooke has a record of that he should return it to us because it belongs to the sheriff's department. Chryslar is on a trusty status here. He works only in the jail. He is not on work release or anything else,” Vernetti said. Asked if he thought the murders indicated a need for a radical overhaul of policies at the penitentiary, Vernetti said, “I've never been in favor of radical changes. The governor is probably right in what he thinks needs to be done. And the citizens of Fremont County are partly right.” The citizens of Canon City and the surrounding area, meanwhile, held a second public meeting Wednesday night with guards at the penitentiary for discussion of a petition drive demanding a grand jury investigation of “the governor's official conduct” with regard to administration of the prison. In addition to that request, the petition requests that the grand jury investigate and make recommendations concerning the following matters: The necessity of appointing a single warden for the prison with single final authority in the administration of the penitentiary; An investigation of the circumstances surrounding the recent release under the work release program of Turner; An investigation and recommendations regarding the conditions inside the penitentiary and the hazardous working conditions of personnel employed there. Ray Shoop, chairman of the petition drive, said guards who attended the meeting were supportive of the action. “The guards see the petition as a tool to get some things done that they've been wanting to get done.” Shoop said that the subject of Vernetti's conduct with regard to Turner had not been raised. “This committee is not out head hunting. We just want to get some problems righted. The sheriff's office will be included in the investigation of the circumstances around the murders,” he said.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph November 9, 1976 – Survivors of Massacred Family Ask $40 Million in Damages From State – Pueblo – Colorado Atty. Gen. J.D. MacFarlane has been asked to settle claims of $40 million in damages by survivors of the five members of the John Hardin family of Penrose, slain by a prison inmate in late August. Attorney Maurice R. Franks of Westcliffe and Pueblo made the settlement request in a letter required by Colorado law in such cases. The law requires persons seeking damage payments from the state to file a notice of intent within 90 days after the damage was done. Slain on Aug. 26 at their Penrose home were John Hardin, a Colorado State Penitentiary guard; his wife Antoinette; and three children, James Aubrey, 3, Carol, 12, and Laura, 15. The woman and two girls were raped and shot and the boy was beaten to death. The family was slain by Richard Turner, 23, a prison inmate on work release assigned to Hardin who police said killed himself as officers closed in. Turner was on a work release program from Fremont County Jail after being transferred from the medium security unit of the prison as a material witness to an inmate murder. A parole board rating filed last Jan. 8 by Board chairman Gordon Heggle said, “Richard Turner comes through in the interview as the classic rapist. There is no reason in the world to believe that he would not commit the third rape of his life and be arrested and convicted for the third time if he were released,” the report said. Turner was sentenced to the prison from Morgan County after his conviction of two counts of gross sexual imposition. Franks said that he represents Inez A. Savala of Rye, the mother of Mrs. Hardin and grandmother of the three dead children; Ronnie Sanchez of Pueblo, father of the slain girls and guardian of two sons who are brothers of the two girls and half-brothers of the boy who was killed; and the two Sanchez boys, Larry and Troy. Franks has been trying to get information from the Colorado Bureau of investigation and from the attorney general to identify “who is responsible for Turner's being free to commit the rapes and the murders.” However, Howard Gillespie, agent-in-charge of the CBI in Denver, said the CBI investigation was only of the crime scene and would in no way identify the persons whom the family is seeking. Further, he said, the reports are investigative and not open to the public. The lawyer said the alleged negligence of government officials gives rise to claims under Colorado negligence laws. But, he said, he also believes claims can be filed under the guarantees of equal protection under the law and of due process by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The family is seeking $20 million in actual damages, and $20 million in punitive and exemplary damages. Franks said if the claims are not paid, lawsuits will be filed.



Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 8-14-1977 - First Case of Spotted Fever Recorded in Pueblo Man - Denver - Colorado has recorded its first case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever this year in a 29-year-old Pueblo man. The Colorado Department of Heath said the man became ill May 23 and has since recovered. Dr. John Emerson, department veterinarian, said that four days before he became ill, the victim had carried two or three armloads of wood from his garage into the house to burn in his fireplace. The wood had been collected in the mountains a month earlier. "He apparently brought back the tick in the firewood but didn't have contact with it until he carried the wood into the house," Emerson said.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 8-23-1977 – State Sued for $360 Million – Denver – Relatives and heirs of a five-member Penrose family, murdered last year by an escaped convict, have filed a $360 million damage suit against the state of Colorado and top corrections officials. The filing of the suit Monday in district court came almost one year after John E. Hardin, his wife and three children were found murdered last Aug. 26 in their blood-spattered home. Mrs. Hardin and one of her daughters had been raped. Named as defendants in the suit were the state of Colorado, Gerald Agee, former director of the Colorado Division of Correctional Services; Dr. Raymond Leidig, director of the Colorado Department of Institutions; members of the state penitentiary staff; the Fremont County Sheriff John Vernetti, and several members of his staff. Richard Turner, the murderer, a Colorado State Penitentiary inmate who was being held in protective custody in Fremont County Jail, had been released to work in the home of Hardin, a prison guard. Turner fled the area to northeastern Colorado, where he shot and killed himself as law officers closed in near Brush. A grand jury investigating the tragedy last December issued strong reprimands to prison officials who had been involved in Turner's case. The damage suit, filed by Pueblo attorney Maurice Franks, also claims that Gov. Richard Lamm, and officials of the state penal system and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were involved in a conspiracy in the incident.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 8-30-1977 - Derailment is Blamed on Journal - Investigators have determined that one of the cars of a Rio Grande Railroad train lost part of its axle Sunday causing a 28-car derailment in Pueblo County, a railroad spokesman said Monday. "We suspect that it was a burned off journal, which is part of the axle," the spokesman said. He added that the railroad had not yet determined how much it would cost the company to replace the cars, which derailed about 24 miles south of Colorado Springs. The cars, carrying iron ore, did not cause any damage to state or county property and there were no injuries, officials said. The spokesman said the cars were traveling at 40 miles per hour, "the authorized speed for cars." He said the investigation would continue.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 11-12-1977 - Train Derails East of Pueblo - Pueblo - A train derailment at the Fountain Sand and Gravel Co. east of Pueblo ruptured a 10,000-gallon propane gas tank causing fire that sent flames shooting 50 to 70 feet in the air, witnesses said. Authorities said four cars of a Santa Fe freight train jumped the track Friday afternoon. One of them struck a loaded sand car on a siding which struck the tank, which was about three-fifths full. The area was evacuated, but no injuries were reported. Firefighters were attempting to cool the tank rather than extinguish the fire which might cause leaking gas to collect and ignite elsewhere, authorities said.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 11-30-1977 – Attorneys: Goodwin Not Only Suspect – Pueblo – Possible defenses in the Richard Goodwin murder case began to appear Tuesday during a pretrial hearing on defense motions for discovery of evidence held by the prosecution. Goodwin, owner of a Pueblo advertising agency, is accused of the May 28 gunshot slaying of his partner, Tom Turcotte of Colorado Springs. Although a third man, Rudy Force, has pleaded guilty to the murder and testified that Goodwin hired him to kill Turcotte, defense attorneys are seeking evidence that might link Turcotte to illicit activities which could provide someone else with a motive for the slaying. Pueblo detective Mike Downs testified that he observed the search of Turcotte's sports car which was found parked in South Pueblo shortly after Turcotte's body was found near Penrose. Downs recalled that an attache case, pills in an envelope, a camera and a photo of a nude woman were taken out of the car and place in the custody of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Lt. James Ivey of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office testified that he received information from "one of Turcotte's girlfriends," including allegations that he may have been involved in drug traffic. Ivey added that he heard Turcotte had been threatened with a handygun by an "irate husband" and said he had talked to Turcotte's employees about land deals and other business. He said he did not know whether the Colorado Organized Crime Strike Force had investigated the land transactions. Defense Attorney Randall Jorgensen said his investigator had received information that the Denver Police Department may have looked into Turcotte's land business in conjunction with another case which resulted in indictments by state and federal grand juries earlier this year. The defense also is seeking policemen's notes on interviews with Terry Hennessee, a young Puebloan whom Force allegedly recruited as "getaway" driver for the murder, and Hennessee's mother and sister. Hennessee left town rather than participate in the murder, but was contacted by telephone by Officer Downs. Three witnesses, detective John Sheehan and Pueblo Star-Journal and Pueblo Chieftain reporter John Salas and Mike Spence were asked about a rumor that Goodwin had helped force Turcotte into the Force vehicle by hitting his partner in the stomach. Although Salas and Spence said they heard the story from various police officers, Sheehan said he did not believe it to be part of Force's statements to police. James Lowe, chief deputy district attorney, said the statements "never existed, so far as we know, except in someone's imagination." District Attorney Josepo Losavio, Lowe and another deputy, Patrick LeHouillier, were called as witnesses regarding four defense motions for dismissal, all based on alleged improprieties in presentation of the case to the grand jury.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 9-2-1978 - How to Escape Labor Day Weekend Crowds - Like Memorial day weekend, the Labor Day Holiday offers an extended weekend for many people. Consequently, large numbers of people will be on the road hoping to cram as much into a last fling for the summer as possible. This week's AAA Auto Club mini tour, like the Memorial Day mini tour, escapes the crowds to some outstanding, but little visited scenery. Begin the tour by driving south on Colorado 115 (Nevada Avenue) through Salt Canyon, past Penrose to Florence. The town of Florence served as the terminus for the Florence to Cripple Creek Narrow Gauge Railroad during the gold rush days. The railroad ran from May 10, 1893 until May 10, 1915 when a flood washed out much of the route. Local historians point out that the railroad was one of the busiest narrow gauge lines mile for mile in the old west. The growth and development of Florence and the Fremont County area were encouraged by the railroad to a great extent. Today, mini-tourists will find a historical marker adjacent to the high school erected to the memory of now extinct line. Another historical marker in Florence, located in front of the city hall, tells of the first oil field worked west of the Mississippi River. The 14-square mile deposit still being worked – was discovered by A.M. Cassidy in 1862 and has supplied more than 1300 wells. One well in operation has been supplying oil since 1889. The mini tour continues south via Colorado 67 to Wetmore passing (an)other state historical marker along the highway about 8.4 miles south of Florence. The area was dotted with trading posts and settlements during its early history but today, little is left to tell their colorful stories. The marker speaks of the village of Hardscrabble that grew up around a trading post during the early 1800s. South of Wetmore, Colorado 67 ends at Colorado (96) and the tour continues south on Colorado 96 to McKenzie Junction. Just before reaching the junction, watch for Smith Creek Picnic Ground on the right (west) side of the highway. This is one of four possible locations along this week's mini tour to enjoy a "brown bagged" lunch in the great Colorado outdoors. Rising above Smith Creek Picnic Ground to an elevation of 10,188 feet is Adobe Peak, where native residents include deer, elk, bear, and mountain lion. At McKenzie Junction, turn southeastward on Colorado 165 through San Isabel National Forest to Rye and Colorado City. Watch on your left (west) for Wilson Mountain and, slightly further south, 10,315 Rudolph Mountain is visible on your right (east). The road follows Bigelow Creek to Fairview and Ophir Campground where five units have been set aside for picnickers. Twenty-seven units are available to overnighters. Davenport Picnic Ground to the east offers a somewhat more secluded area to enjoy lunch and offers 15 sites. Continuing south from Fairview, Colorado 165, known locally as the Greenhorn Highway, follows Willow Creek. Watch on your left for the point where Willow Creek flows into Lake Isabel, a gravel road leads to a natural arch rock formation along St. Charles Creek. Here too, deer, elk, bear and mountain lion make their homes and fisherman find excellent stream and lake fishing. Following Colorado 165 south, the mini tourist will reach Rye and then Colorado City. West of Colorado City is Greenhorn Meadow park and a marker indicating where an expedition of Spaniards tangled with Comanches under the leadership of Chief Cuerno Verde. The Spanish expedition, one of the first to the area, was victorious in the ensuing battle and chief Cuerno Verde was killed. Check locally if you find difficulty in locating the marker. Within two miles, the mini tour encounters I-25 and likely the thundering masses of Labor Day travelers. A 24 mile drive northward on I-25 brings the mini tourist to Pueblo where the Colorado State Fair continues three more days. Admission the fairgrounds ($2.50) also covers general admission to the evening shows which feature big name country entertainment. Tonight Ronnie Milsap Country Music Association's male vocalist of the year for the past four years, teams up with Jody Miller, another very familiar name to country music buffs, for the evening concerts. Sunday, Dolly Parton, popular country singer, songwriter, and star of her own TV show, promises to bring the house down. If she doesn't, perhaps Mel Tillis, writer of "Detroit City," "Ruby, Don't take Your Love to Town," and 500 other country favorites, will complete the job as he closes the 1978 State Fair. Return to Colorado Springs by continuing north on I-25 for 42 miles.

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 10-11-1978 - MacFarlane Charged with Coverup - Pueblo Nursing Home Faces 45 Charges - A Colorado Health Department survey of the State Home and training School in Pueblo, taken in June, charges the facility with 45 separate deficiencies and/or direct violations of the law, it was learned Tuesday. The report, said Colorado Health Care Association George Curtis, has been known to the nursing home industry for several weeks but was kept secret by state Attorney General J.D. MacFarlane because Pueblo is MacFarlane's hometown. Top state officials, including MacFarlane, have been involved in a running feud with the Colorado Heath Care association over its members' operation of privately-owned nursing homes. The report accuses the state-owned-and-operated facility of: Not meeting state and federal laws, including state licensure requirements; Having non-qualified personnel administering medication; Not rinsing excrement out of linen in the resident halls because of a lack of facilities for doing so; Not having enough qualified nursing personnel; Having heavily soiled and stained shower facilities, some with loose and broken tile. "Accumulations of soap scum, hard water deposits and other unidentifiable soil were evident," the report says; Having rooms "littered with rags, old mop heads and miscellaneous trash"; Allowing cockroaches in sections of one hall and the basement soiled-linen holding room that serves two others; Not cleaning rooms in two halls, where "there was dried urine and excrement on the floors"; Failing to provide hearing and vision examinations. The health department report also says that: not all residents have been provided with clean, comfortable mattresses; some residents have not been provided with furniture such as cabinets or chest of drawers, or a comfortable chair; some buildings do not have facilities for storing soiled linens; and there are no emergency power or lighting systems. Curtis said, "Those findings would have been enough to close down any private facility in the state. It is, without a doubt, the worst report I have seen on any facility anywhere," Curtis said. The report, Curtis said, is required by both state and federal governments to secure reimbursement for patients who are covered by various governmental plans. Curtis said the alleged cover-up stems from decisions by both MacFarlane and Gov. Richard Lamm to use the nursing home industry as a political whipping post in an effort to win re-election. Lamm is being challenged by Republican state Sen. Ted Strickland in the Nov. 7 general election. MacFarlane is running against Steve Duncan. Curtis and his group have been accused by Democrats of trying to "stuff the ballot boxes within nursing homes" and of making hefty contributions to the Strickland campaign. Curtis denied both allegations. He said the political action arm of the nursing home operator's organization has raised less than $20,000. A study released in June by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. research organization, contends that cooperative effort between the nursing home industry and the state administration changed with Lamm's election as governor. "Apparently inspired by exposes of the nursing home industry prepared by New York state," the report says, Lamm ordered an investigation of Colorado's nursing home industry. The Urban Institute says "this two-year long investigation contributed to the change in industry-state relations." Summarizing the results of the investigation, the reports says, "the charges were so mild when compared to condemnation of New York's reimbursement system, for example, that they might be viewed as an endorsement to the (Colorado) reimbursement system." The health department report, one of several on various state facilities, appears to indicate that most of the problems result from budget deficiencies. The Pueblo institution has agreed to try and remedy many of the problems.


Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 1-18-1979 - Goodwin Arraignment Feb. 2 - Arraignment for Pueblo businessman Richard Goodwin has been set for Feb. 2 in Pueblo District court. Goodwin is charged with first degree murder in the death of his business partner Tom Turcotte in June of 1977. Goodwin recently won an appeal to gain access to testimony by Ralph Force who is serving time in the penitentiary for charges stemming from the murder case. Force allegedly testified that he and his wife were paid by Goodwin to kill Turcotte.  

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph - 9-19-1979 - Death Definition Asked - Denver - Officials at the hospital where a comatose 17-month-old boy lies near death implored the Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday to decide what constitutes death, even if the boy dies. Attorneys for Parkview Episcopal Hospital of Pueblo made the request in a brief asking that doctors at the southern Colorado hospital be allowed to follow a judge's order to disconnect Jerry Trujillo from life-support systems. Jerry has been comatose since Aug. 23, and doctors have testified that his brain is dead and that he does not respond to pain or other stimuli. "A hospital and (its staff) live to treat the sick that they may become healthy, and the dying that they may do so with dignity," the brief said. "(They) do not live to inject IVs and pump air into a grossly battered corpse for weeks. . . because a legislature and a court have dodged the issue of defining death for 103 years." At present, the only guideline for death in Colorado is the common-law definition of cessation of heartbeat and spontaneous breathing. A bill that would have defined death as the irreversible cessation of brain functions, was introduced in the state Legislature this year, but was killed in the Senate.

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