Victims of the State

10 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases


County:   Denver   El Paso   Gilpin
Hinsdale   Huerfano   Larimer   Pueblo

Denver County, CO
Willard Powell
Mar 28, 1908

(Federal Case tried in Council Bluffs, IA)  Willard Powell was convicted of participating in a massive swindling scheme that had operated in 14 cities and had taken in millions of dollars.  The organizers of this scheme ran a “Millionaires' Club” for the purpose of operating fake horse races, wrestling matches, foot races, and boxing matches. They then had a “steerer,” to induce a “mike,” to join with the club's secretary in betting against the club, the “mike” believing that the race or match was to be “thrown” in his favor.  After the stakes were put up, with the club's secretary as stakeholder, the event was instead thrown to the club and the “mike” got a dose of his own medicine.  The scheme was cleverly worked out, inducing persons to surrender their money, yet leaving them in such a compromising position that they were not anxious to report the affair to the authorities.

Powell was indicted because of testimony that he knew and associated with some of those clearly involved in the scheme.  However, there was no evidence that he conspired with anyone.  He and his attorney expected a directed verdict of acquittal.  However, at the last minute in the Mar. 1910 trial, a “mike” was recalled as a witness and identified Powell as a participant in the group who fleeced him in a fake horse race near Denver, CO.  This “mike” could not fix the date when he was fleeced, beyond saying it was between March 20 and April 10, 1908.  The only other witness who had testified about this swindle had already been dismissed and had left town.

The date was important, because Powell had alibis in different locations during this time period and did not have time to collect alibi evidence covering the entire period.  Powell had two witnesses testify that they returned from Cuba with him around the first of April.  Another witness testified that he was in Denver when Powell arrived about the middle of April.  However, the jury disregarded this evidence and convicted Powell.

Following Powell's conviction, his attorneys established that the horse race occurred on Mar. 28, 1908, and that Powell was clearly in Tampa, Florida on this date, having returned from Cuba two days before.  U.S. President Taft granted Powell a full pardon in July 1910.  (CTI)  [11/07]

Denver County, CO
Ernest Mattice
Oct 17, 1936

Ernest Mattice, a candy salesman, was convicted of the kidnapping and rape of Mrs. Margaret Cyzkosz, a 22-year-old beer parlor waitress.  Cyzkosz's work shift ended at 2 a.m., and while she was walking home, she was kidnapped at Fox St. and West Colfax Ave. in Denver.  Her abductors drove her to a deserted country road where they assaulted her.  She was later dumped on a sidewalk near her home.  Cyzkosz described her two assailants as clean shaven.  Two days later Cyzkosz identified Mattice as one of her assailants even though he had a large moustache.

The conviction was due to Cyzkosz's identification.  The trial judge sentenced Mattice to two concurrent life terms, plus two consecutive seven year terms. Because of the harshness of the sentence, six of the jurors regretted their verdicts and joined in a petition asking the judge to either suspend sentence or grant Mattice a new trial.  Cyzkose also stated publicly that the sentence was much too harsh.  However the judge was unmoved.

While investigating a series of rapes in the area, Denver police doubted Mattice's guilt and identified two other men, Frank Neill and Earl Arthur Parker, as suspects.  When these suspects were shown to Cyzkose, she identified them as her assailants.  Both men subsequently confessed to the crime.  In June 1937 Mattice was released after Gov. Teller Ammons pardoned him.  Four years later Colorado awarded Mattice $4000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (Not Guilty) (News Article)  [11/10]

El Paso County, CO
Timothy Kennedy
Mar 11, 1991

“Timothy [John] Kennedy was wrongly convicted in 1997 of the 1991 murder of 15-year-old Jennifer Carpenter and her 37-year-old boyfriend, Steve Staskiewicz.  Kennedy was sentenced to life in prison.  Touch DNA testing unavailable at the time of Kennedy's trial excluded him as the assailant, and Kennedy filed a motion for a new trial based on the new evidence and other exculpatory evidence the prosecution didn't disclose prior to his trial.  On April 21, 2009 El Paso County District Judge Thomas Kane, who presided at Kennedy's original trial, overturned Kennedy's convictions and life sentences, citing flawed evidence, prosecutors' failure to turn over evidence to the defense, and a lack of DNA evidence.  Among the new evidence was the comparative bullet lead analysis relied on by the prosecution that is now discredited as junk science.  On May 29, 2009 Kennedy was released on $250,000 bail.” – FJDB

El Paso County, CO
Todd Newmiller
Nov 20, 2004

Todd Newmiller was convicted of murdering 22-year-old Anthony Madril.  On the night of Madril's death a dispute arose between two groups of young men at a Colorado Springs nightclub.  The club management forced one group to leave while the other left shortly thereafter.  Two vehicles carrying these men subsequently stopped a short distance away on Conrad St. near Terminal Ave.  The first vehicle, a pickup truck, was driven by Charles Schwartz, with Chisum Lopez on the passenger side and Anthony Madril in the middle.  The second vehicle, a Jeep, contained Todd Newmiller, his brother Joel, Mike Lee, Jason Melick, and Brad Orgill.  The dispute had primarily been between Madril and Orgill.
Read More by Clicking Here

Gilpin County, CO
Laura Kriho
May 1996

In May of 1996, Laura Kriho was the only one of 12 jurors voting to acquit a 19-year-old woman on trial for possession of methamphetamine.  One of her fellow jurors passed a note to the presiding judge snitching on Kriho for disobeying the judge's order not to discuss the possible jail sentence.  The judge declared a mistrial and charged Kriho with contempt of court, obstruction of justice, and perjury.  The state contended Kriho had failed to volunteer that she had a past drug arrest and was philosophically in disagreement with some of the drug laws.  Kriho had honestly answered every question that was asked of her.  Kriho was convicted of contempt in 1997, but exonerated in 2000 prior to sentencing.  (FJDB) (Rocky Mountain News)  [10/07]

Hinsdale County, CO
Alferd Packer

Alferd Packer was convicted of murdering five prospectors he had guided into the mountains during the winter of 1873-74 and who had become stranded there with him.  Packer contended that one day when he returned to camp after looking for food, one of the prospectors, Shannon Bell, had killed the others and was roasting a piece of meat he had cut out of leg of one of them.  Bell then attacked Packer with a hatchet and Packer shot Bell in self-defense.  Packer said he tried to find a way out of the mountains every day, but could not, so he lived off the flesh of the dead men.  Packer escaped execution on a technicality.  Under pressure from a campaign led by a Denver Post columnist, Packer was granted a conditional parole in 1901 after 18 years in prison.  Modern forensics and the journal of a Civil War veteran who had seen the bodies appear to confirm Packer's story.  [6/05]

Huerfano County, CO
Loren Hamby
June 22, 1937 (Walsenburg)

Loren Hamby was convicted of the murder of George T. Carnes.  Carnes was killed during a holdup at his filling station located at the corner of First and Walsen in Walsenburg.  Hamby claimed he was listening to a broadcast of the Louis-Braddock heavyweight fight at the time of the holdup.  Following conviction, Hamby began a life sentence in 1939.  Some time later, Professor Leonarde Keeler was brought in from Chicago with his invention, the modern-day lie detector.  He found Hamby was telling the truth.  The chief prosecution witness then repudiated his testimony.  In April 1946, Governor John Vivian pardoned Hamby and he was released.  In 1947 the Colorado Legislature awarded Hamby $10,000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (Evening Independent) (Carnes Obituary)  [11/08]

Larimer County, CO
Tim Masters
Feb 11, 1987 (Fort Collins)

Tim Masters was convicted in 1999 of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick.  Hettrick's body had been found in a south Fort Collins field just hours after she was last seen leaving a nearby restaurant.  This location was 100 feet north of the mobile home of Tim Masters.  Masters' father told police that his 15-year-old son had walked through the field as he did every day to take a bus to school.
Read More by Clicking Here

Pueblo County, CO
Joe Arridy
Aug 15, 1936 (Pueblo)

On Aug. 15, 1936, Dorothy Drain, 15, and her sister Barbara, 12, were hit in the head with the blunt edge of a hatchet in their Pueblo home at 1536 Stone Ave.  Their parents, Riley and Peggy Drain, returned after a night out to find Dorothy dying and Barbara in a coma.  Dorothy had also been raped.  The hatchet was found in the home of Frank Aguilar and he was arrested on Aug 20.  Riley Drain had fired Aguilar from his job at a WPA project.  Pueblo Police Chief J. Arthur Grady believed all evidence clearly revealed Aguilar was the murderer.
Read More by Clicking Here

Pueblo County, CO
Leonard Baldauf
Jan 23, 1997 (Pueblo West)

Leonard Baldauf was convicted of the murder of his married girlfriend, Paige TenBrook.  He accepted a plea deal in which he did not have to admit guilt and only had to serve a 24-year sentence.  The victim's estranged husband, Scott TenBrook, who lived in Oregon, confessed to committing the murder to his girlfriend's son.  The son reported the confession to the Medford, Oregon Police Department.  Nevertheless, the husband and Pueblo County prosecutor Scott Dingle were old friends and Dingle refused to charge TenBrook.  Post-conviction DNA test results indicate that a person who was neither Baldauf nor TenBrook committed the murder.  This evidence suggests that TenBrook hired a killer.  Under his plea agreement, Baldauf is not allowed to appeal his conviction, but he is trying to withdraw from the agreement.  (JD29)  [2/07]