Eagle prostitution trial concludes with split decision on verdict
December 12, 2013
EAGLE — A Front Range woman got a split decision in her prostitution trial.
A six-person jury – four men and two women — said Paula Kekich, 58, was guilty of solicitation for prostitution, but not guilty of actual prostitution.
Kekich insisted the undercover police officer was going to get a "sexy massage," and nothing more.
The misdemeanor trial took all day; the jury was out less than 10 minutes.
Kekich was one of three Front Range women who appeared in court Thursday, all swept up in a prostitution sting by Vail police on Dec. 1.
Vail Police Cmdr. Daric Harvey was in a Marriott suite when he called the phone number in an ad Kekich said she placed on the adult website, backpage.com, promising "High Rockies Special: Girls, Sweet and Discreet."
The recording of the Dec. 1, 2012, phone conversation played in court went like this:
"The skiing is not very good today. Can I get something? Are you available? How much?" Harvey asked when he called the number in the ad.
"$275 for an hour," Kekich
"Will I need a condom? I have plenty of condoms," Harvey said.
"That puts us in a position of something illegal. Are you a cop?" Kekich asked.
Harvey grunted, "I'm an accountant," he said.
Harvey testified that he paid Kekich $275. He said she told him to go to the next room and "get naked," and that she would do "incredible things to his body."
Kekich laid out a towel for Harvey, with four bottles of floral scented lotions on it.
When officers moved in to arrest her she was fully clothed, had a cell phone in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
Officers picked up her floral printed makeup bag containing the four bottles of oil/personal lubricants, lipstick and 11 condoms and some scented candles.
She testified that she was carrying the condoms because she planned to see a former boyfriend. She also testified that she hadn't had sex since June 2012.
"I have been carrying condoms for more than half of my life," Kekich said.
For the class 3 misdemeanor, she could be fined between $50 and $750. Kekich has no prior criminal record.
The other two women arrested for prostitution rolled the wheels of the justice system in different directions.
Christina Zarnowiec asked for a jury trial. She's charged with a felony because there were allegedly narcotics involved. The next court appearance is set for Aug. 12 for a motions hearing.
The third woman pleaded guilty to minor drug possession and is headed for a rehab clinic in Nebraska.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and rwyrick@vail daily.com