Police say Gypsum father was shot twice in head | VailDaily.com

Police say Gypsum father was shot twice in head

GYPSUM — A 13-year-old boy allegedly shot his father in the back of the head with a rifle, and put the gun's muzzle against his father's temple and fired. While the order of the shots taken remains unconfirmed, one thing does not: Joseph Kelly, 50, was dead for six days in the Gypsum home he shared with his son before his body was discovered. The boy was reportedly in the house with the body for much of that time. Those two bullets to the head killed Joseph, said Kara Bettis, Eagle County coroner. She ruled the death a homicide. Bettis said Kelly was shot with a .22-caliber rifle. The boy is being charged with first-degree murder in connection with his father's death, said Joe Hoy, Eagle County sheriff. He will probably not be charged as an adult, but that still remains to be determined, said District Attorney Bruce Brown. "This is a young child, so we would be very reluctant to charge him as an adult," Brown said. "We haven't even finished our investigation. Once you get past the questions of what happened, you get to why it happened." The shooting appears to be an isolated incident, Hoy said. "No evidence indicated any intention to cause harm to anyone else," Hoy said. Bettis said the body had begun to decompose and stink when Eagle County Sheriff's deputies went to the house Monday morning. When they arrived, the boy admitted to deputies that his father was dead inside. Kelly's body was found in a small area off of the kitchen, Hoy said. The motive remains under investigation, Hoy said. The only other contact with law enforcement was a domestic case while Kelly and his wife were in the midst of a divorce, Hoy said. Kelly and his son were living together in the house. The boy's mother was not living with them. Friends of the family said they were shocked, describing the boy as "extremely intelligent." They also said he and Kelly were close and did many things together, including big game hunting. A few county staffers described him as a delightful man. From graffiti to guns Local law enforcement's involvement began Wednesday, April 30, when Kelly didn't show up to talk to Eagle County sheriff's deputies about a graffiti case they were investigating. Kelly had worked in the tech industry, but the economic downturn forced him to look for other employment, friends said. He found it in Eagle County's public works department. Hoy said when Kelly didn't show up for his public works job for several days, his boss became suspicious, especially after his son called the department to say his father would not be coming to work. Monday morning someone from the public works department contacted the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, suspicious that something was wrong, Hoy said. Deputies stopped by the house for a "wellness check" to make sure everything was OK. It wasn't. When deputies arrived at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, the boy answered the door and told deputies that his father was dead inside. After a quick search they discovered Kelly's decomposing body near the kitchen. The boy was taken into custody, Hoy said. SON TAKEN TO JUVENILE JAIL He was advised Monday afternoon by District Court Judge Fred Gannett and transferred to the Mount View Youth Services Center in Jefferson County. That's the nearest juvenile jail to Eagle County, and it's where Eagle County and several other Colorado counties jail juvenile inmates. The Eagle County jail does not have a facility to house juvenile prisoners, and state law prohibits juveniles from being housed with an adult jail population. Gannett ruled that the public would be restricted from accessing the teen's court file. Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Drug crimes a constant in Eagle County

EAGLE COUNTY – A year and a half ago, police arrested two people who had just harvested about 300 pounds of marijuana near the Reudi Reservoir, in the southwest end of the county. Last summer, police busted a man who had converted two bedrooms of his Vail home into a marijuana growing area.Drug distribution has become one of the top felony crimes in the county, said Eagle County Det. Mike McWilliam, supervisor of the Eagle County Drug Task Force. And among drug-related crimes, distribution of cocaine has increased in the past years, McWilliam said.”It appears that a lot of that is associated with Mexican nationals who are bringing it from Mexico and distributing it in the valley,” McWilliam said. “They can get it very cheap on the border, bring it here and sell it for much more.”The biggest problem is powder cocaine as opposed to crack cocaine, McWilliam said.Dealers can get between $750 to $1,000 for an ounce of cocaine – 28 grams – while a gram can cost $50 to $100 depending on the quality, McWilliam.”There’s a lot of distribution in bars,” he added. A drug that concerns police even more, methamphetamine – now prevalent in Grand Junction, Denver and elsewhere in the rural West – is not common in Eagle County, McWilliam said. “There’s more cocaine here, which is better because people taking meth tend to be more violent and paranoiac than those taking cocaine,” he said. “Meth is also worse for your health.”Drug loadWhen he worked for the drug task force two years ago, Eagle County Deputy Brian Hollenbaugh said he was surprised with how much drug use there is in the county.”There seems to be more activity in dealing and consumption,” Hollenbaugh said.Consumption was widely spread among people of different incomes, he added.”There’s no discrimination. Drugs don’t discriminate,” Hollenbaugh said.To Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy, residents in the valley need to get away from the idea that drugs aren’t a problem here. “We have the same law enforcement issues that big cities have. We have the same type of crime,” Hoy said.Since he became sheriff in 2002, Hoy said he’s seen an increase in drug activity in the county. “There seems to be a higher prevalent consumption in resorts communities,” Hoy said.From July 2002 through June 2004, police arrested 113 people in drug-related to crimes in Eagle County, McWilliam said.”Half of those arrests were for distribution and half for possession,” he added.And in half of those cases, the drug involved was cocaine. In the winter, the so-called “rave drugs” – hallucinogenics like ecstasy that come mostly from Boulder and Denver – appear in the valley with the snowboarders, McWilliam said.The cocaine tends from Texas and California, while marijuana, comes from Mexico or is grown indoors locally, McWilliam said.”And then you also have prescription drugs,” he added. “The ones referred as controlled substances are the ones that can be addictive – such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium.”Some high school students also huff glue or gasoline and that can be very damaging to the brain,” McWilliam added.Capt. Barry Bratt with the Colorado State Patrol said his officers are seeing a lot of methamphetamine moving west toward Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.”Some people dump their meth labs when the road gets shut down,” Bratt said. “That’s an indication of what’s going up and down the roadway.”Curbing the problemDistrict Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he’s seeing more people dealing greater amounts of drugs. “Before, we had people dealing in grams, now, we have them dealing in ounces,” Hurlbert said.But Hoy said the drug task force is constantly doing criminal investigations and arresting people who are distributing the drugs in Eagle County.”If you want to do the crime better be prepared to do the time if you get caught,” he said.”People perceive they are being careful and won’t get caught,” Hoy added. “A simple traffic stop can lead to a drug bust. Users and dealers don’t understand what the consequences can be if they get caught.”There’s a range of penalties facing those who are convicted of a drug crime. For trafficking, a “class 2″ felony, somebody could get up to 48 years in prison. For dealing, depending on the drug, the penalty could be up to 32 years in prison. For possession the sentence depends on the type of drug and them amount. In some of the most serious cases, someone could be sentenced to up to 16 years in prison.”Unless there’s a large amount – over an ounce of cocaine or meth – there’s no mandatory prison for them,” Hurlbert said.”We try to hurt the dealers,” he added. “We look for probation for people who are using. We look for prison for those dealing, especially those dealing for profit or on school grounds.”Hoy recommends parents to be aware what their kids are doing and how they’re spending their free time. “If they notice abrupt changes in their behavior, they need to step in and have a heart to heart,” he said. “Don’t assume anything.”According to McWilliam, the problem with marijuana is that it’s much stronger now than it was years ago. “The percentage of the active ingredient – THC – is higher now than 20 years ago when the parents of these kids were in high school,” he said. “We work closely with parents and school district officials to try to keep drugs out of the schools. We use our K9 dogs and the drug dogs to do random searches in locker areas.”So far, Hoy said the drug task has had success curbing drug crimes in the county.”But we will never be able to eradicate them,” he said. “As long as people want them, people will get them for them.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. ==========================================Drug facts• From July 2002 through June 2004 police arrested 113 people related to drug crimes• 50 percent of those arrests were for cocaine• 25 percent for marijuana• 25 percent for mushrooms, ecstasy and prescription drugsSource: Eagle County Sheriff’s Office=====================================================Vail, Colorado

Police: Gypsum father was shot twice in head

GYPSUM — A 13-year-old boy allegedly shot his father in the back of the head with a rifle, and put the gun's muzzle against his father's temple and fired. While the order of the shots taken remains unconfirmed, one thing does not: Joseph Kelly, 50, was dead for six days in the Gypsum home he shared with his son before his body was discovered. The boy was reportedly in the house with the body for much of that time. Those two bullets to the head killed Joseph, said Kara Bettis, Eagle County coroner. She ruled the death a homicide. Bettis said Joseph was shot with a .22 caliber rifle. The boy is being charged with first-degree murder in connection with his father's death, said Joe Hoy, Eagle County sheriff. He will probably not be charged as an adult, but that still remains to be determined, said District Attorney Bruce Brown. "This is a young child so we would be very reluctant to charge him as an adult," Brown said. "We haven't even finished our investigation. Once you get past the questions of what happened, you get to why it happened." The shooting appears to be an isolated incident, Hoy said. "No evidence indicated any intention to cause harm to anyone else," Hoy said. Bettis said the body had begun to decompose and stink when Eagle County Sheriff's deputies went to the house Monday morning. When they arrived, the boy admitted to deputies that his father was dead inside. Joseph's body was found in a small area off the kitchen, Hoy said. The motive remains under investigation, Hoy said. The only other contact with law enforcement was a domestic case while Joseph and his wife were in the midst of a divorce, Hoy said. Joseph and his son were living together in the house. The boy's mother was not living with them. Friends of the family said they were shocked, describing the boy as "extremely intelligent." They also said he and Joseph were close, and did many things together, including big game hunting. A few county staffers described Joseph as a delightful man. From graffiti to guns Local law enforcement's involvement began Wednesday, April 30, when Joseph didn't show up to talk to Eagle County sheriff's deputies about a graffiti case they were investigating. Joseph had worked in the tech industry, but the economic downturn forced him to look for other employment, friends said. He found it in Eagle County's pubic works department. Hoy said when Joseph didn't show up for his public works job for several days, his boss became suspicious, especially after Joseph's son called the department to say his father would not be coming to work. Monday morning someone from the public works department contacted the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, suspicious that something was wrong, Hoy said. Deputies stopped by the house for a "wellness check," to make sure everything was OK. It wasn't. When deputies arrived, about 11:30 a.m. Monday, the boy answered the door and told deputies that Joseph was dead inside. After a quick search they discovered Joseph's decomposing body near the kitchen. The boy was taken into custody, Hoy said. He was advised Monday afternoon by District Court Judge Fred Gannett, and transferred to the Mount View Youth Services Center in Jefferson County. That's the nearest juvenile jail to Eagle County, and it's where Eagle County and several other Colorado counties jail juvenile inmates. The Eagle County jail does not have a facility to house juvenile prisoners, and state law prohibits juveniles from being housed with an adult jail population. Gannett ruled that the public would be restricted from accessing the teen's court file. Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

No crime seen in El Jebel gunfire

EL JEBEL ” An investigation into gunfire in El Jebel has found that no laws were violated by a hunting party, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office says. But Sheriff Joe Hoy said Wednesday that his office still is looking into whether any county regulations might apply. The El Jebel homeowner who called police, meanwhile, said he will continue to press the matter. “I’m not going to let this go,” said Wayne Ewing, a documentary filmmaker who lives on Valley Road in El Jebel, a short distance downvalley from the Crown Mountain Park. Ewing called the sheriff’s office on the morning of Sept. 30 to report hearing gunfire near his home. He said a hunting party, led by his neighbor, Jason Killebrew, was firing shotguns somewhere on Killebrew’s land, which sits alongside the Roaring Fork River, and that Ewing and several guests were afraid of being injured. Ewing said his house has been hit in the past by what he believes were shotgun pellets, when hunters visited Killebrew’s property. He said he was irate at what he termed being “pinned down by gunfire” between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Ewing also accused Killebrew of illegally shooting a fox that was found on Ewing’s property Sunday morning, bleeding and dying from pellet wounds. There are two seasons in Colorado, according to the state wildlife division’s Web site. Regular fox season began Oct. 1; red-fox season begins Nov. 1. Ewing believes the dead animal was a red fox, but that has yet to be determined. Eagle County Deputy Melissa Langford, who spoke to Ewing via telephone, but did not visit his home, concluded that Killebrew and his party were outside the 150-yard limit from Ewing’s house, and that they did not violate state regulations. Her report was supported by her supervisor, Sgt. Alex Iacovetto, and Hoy. State wildlife officer Kelly Wood, who was called into the case by Langford, is investigating the fox shooting. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Killebrew, contacted Tuesday, maintained that he and his hunting party, who were shooting on private property, were at least 250 yards from Ewing’s home, and that they did not break any laws. Hoy said he hopes to speak directly with Ewing about the matter before going any further.

GOP chooses county candidates

EAGLE – The county GOP gathered Saturday in a grand old display of democracy at its smallest denominator – the caucus.In the Eagle County building 113 Republican delegates gathered to choose candidates to represent the party at the county level. The proceedings were not without a bit of drama.Commissioner candidate Hugo Benson attacked fellow hopeful Michael Bair based on a conversation the two had. Benson said Bair told him he could not beat Democrat Sarah Fisher in his home town of Basalt, a feat Benson felt he could accomplish and thus asked for the nomination.Later, Bair responded to Benson.”That’s Hugo Benson’s interpretation of what I said,” Bair said.The reason Bair said he could not beat Fisher in Basalt is there are more Democrats and Independents in Basalt than Republicans. Still, Bair said he can beat Fisher.Benson narrowly defeated his competitor by a vote of 62 to 51. Since both candidates received more than 30 percent of the vote, an August primary will decide which candidate squares of against Fisher and Independent hopeful Roger Brown.By a majority – 77 to 36 – Republicans favored Edward Smith for county assessor over current office holder Joyce Mack. Smith touted his practical experience – he holds the state’s loftiest appraiser license and has worked in the office for 19 years. Mack stood by the work she has accomplished while in office and asked for the nomination to complete programs she has implemented.A primary also decides the Republican candidate in this category.Sheriff Joe Hoy received the lone party nomination despite musings former sheriff A.J. Johnson might seek reelection four years after he left office due to term limits. After he left, those limits were lifted.Other nominees unopposed within the party include Karen Sheaffer for treasurer, Dan Corcoran for surveyor and Teak Simonton for clerk and recorder. All three are incumbents.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

Closing Edwards station a possibility, sheriff says

EAGLE COUNTY ” Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy is considering closing the Edwards substation in an effort to keep the department’s 2009 budget as slim as possible. Hoy presented the possibility to the county commissioners Friday during a budget work session. The move would save the department about $47,000, Hoy said. “In a perfect world, I would not want to do it,” Hoy said. The four deputies that are based at the station and patrol the area would be moved to the Eagle-Vail station, Hoy said. “They’ll just be shifted east,” Hoy said. “We can make it from Eagle-Vail down to Edwards in under five minutes ” on a heavy traffic day it’s a 10-minute drive.” Hoy said he’s still working with the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District on the possibility of constructing a new substation as part of the district’s field house project planned for Miller Ranch land in Edwards. It would be a good spot for a station because of its proximity to the area schools and the highway, Hoy said. “I really would like to have that happen,” Hoy said. “That is an ideal location for us to have a substation.” Steve Russell, director of WECMRD, has said the district would be happy to include a sheriff’s station in the project. The district hopes to have a request for proposal completed soon and a construction manager chosen by mid-December. Hoy said the proposal is being considered because of direction from the county commissioners that all departments needed to keep their budgets tight. “We were asked to find ways to trim our budget,” Hoy said. “I guess it’s a sign of the times.” Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily letter: Hoy right for county

Since 2002, I have had the honor and opportunity to work with and know Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy. As we have served together, for eight years, as members of the County Sheriffs of Colorado Legislative Affairs Committee, Joe has consistently demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that he is a strong voice representing the best interests of the residents of Eagle County. Joe has been and will always be a well-informed voice of reason who demands that government services are provided in a responsible and effective manner. As a decorated U.S. Army veteran with more that 21 years of progressive local public-safety service, Joe Hoy has proudly served the people of Eagle County as their sheriff since 2002. Sheriff Hoy continues to keep his promises to the community by being an effective problem-solver and being committed to meaningful community partnerships. Joe Hoy consistently performs the responsibilities of Eagle County sheriff in an effective and efficient manner with a focus on conducting his business in a fiscally responsible manner. Joe is proactively engaged in local, regional, state and national issues with specific attention constantly being given to the well-being of the youth of Eagle County. As the result of his diverse experience, proven leadership and clear vision for the future, Sheriff Joe Hoy is uniquely qualified to continue to serve the people of Eagle County as their sheriff. During these uncertain and difficult times involving the significant challenges associated with the economy, unemployment and the future of our children, the people of Eagle County need the proven experience, leadership and vision of Sheriff Joe Hoy. Now is not the time for a sheriff requiring on-the-job training. Now is the time for a proven record of experience, leadership and vision. Sheriff Joe Hoy is the only candidate capable of providing the experience, leadership and vision that the people of Eagle County deserve. Please support Sheriff Joe Hoy, the right choice for Eagle County. Grayson Robinson Arapahoe County sheriff

Vail Daily letter: Hoy overspent

According to information received from the Eagle County Finance Department, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office expenditures during Sheriff Hoy’s tenure have increased from a base line of $7 million in 2002 to almost $11.1 million for the year 2009. This $ 4.1 million change, $3.2 million coming in increased salaries and benefits, represents almost a 60 percent expense jump during the time Sheriff Hoy has been in control. Sheriff Hoy’s campaign has asked the voters of Eagle County to trust his experience in solving the forth coming county expense crisis that has come about as a result of the economic slowdown. It seems to me that the past experience Sheriff Hoy cites as a positive attribute has been a major contributor to the problem. Why should the voters of Eagle County expect that Mr. Hoy can rapidly change his past methods and rein in the runaway spending that he has presided over for seven years? I urge you to consider these facts when you cast your ballot in the sheriff’s race. A change in leadership at the Sheriff’s Office is definitely needed. Vote for Wolf, after all has your income increased by 60 percent over the last seven years? Douglas Hill Gypsum

Republicans choose Hoy in primary

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Eagle County Republican voters want incumbent Sheriff Joe Hoy to represent the party on the November ballot. Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton announced unofficial election results around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, with Hoy ahead of Republican challenger Charles Wolf by 257 votes. Wolf wouldn’t concede Tuesday night and declined to comment – he said he would wait for official election results to be announced. Wolf, also a deputy with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, challenged his boss in the Republican primary on issues such as drunk driving and the county jail – Wolf thought Hoy’s policies have been too lenient. Hoy, who joined the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office in the late 1980s, ran for sheriff in 2002. Then-sheriff A.J. Johnson had reached his term limit, which is why Hoy ran for the seat. He told the Vail Daily last week that he never would have considered challenging his boss, as Wolf has done. “I’ve taken the high road, trying to keep everyone focused and trying to help them understand that Mr. Wolf, by law, has the right to do this,” Hoy said. “But is it the right way to do it?” Hoy said he was enjoying the moment Tuesday night just before 9 p.m., when he was ahead of Wolf by more votes than remained to be counted. “I felt confident I would win in the primary,” Hoy said. “I think we did a good job.” Hoy said it’s a big sigh of relief to win the primary, and there’s still a “loyalty issue” lingering at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. “When you raise your hand in the air and swear an oath, that means a lot to me and I depend on people to support me,” Hoy said. “If (my staff members) do have an issue, I expect them to come to me and talk to me about it. Wolf has not done that.” Hoy takes the race against unaffiliated candidate James van Beek seriously and remains focused to win in November. “It’s going to be a challenge like anything else,” Hoy said. Hoy is not finished serving Eagle County, he said. He wants to tackle the ongoing budget problems and thinks he’s the right man for the job. “There are a lot of things I need to do for the organization and for the community,” Hoy said. “The biggest challenge right now is dealing with the budget and making sure we can provide the best service for the community.” Simonton said that while voter turnout, at about 27 percent, is the best it has ever been in an Eagle County primary, it’s still a very low voter turnout considering the number of ballots that went out. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office sent out about 17,000 ballots and received about 4,700. Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily letter: Hoy’s earned re-election as sheriff

There are those that hold that party trumps person. I am not one of them, particular as the parties — both Democrat and Republican — tend to cater to the fringes rather than serving the great middle where most of us reside. Support of persons of integrity, while always essential, is particularly important in these challenging, unsettled times. Which is why, despite my being a lifelong Democrat, I am pleased to cross the aisle in support of Sheriff Joe Hoy in his bid for re-election as Eagle County sheriff. As an attorney practicing in Eagle County for nearly 18 years, I have had the pleasure of knowing Sheriff Hoy professionally for many years now and have also come to know him as a friend. Joe’s integrity, impartiality, openness and deep commitment to service distinguish him as an exemplar of what a law enforcement chief should be. The officers he has hired have been skilled, well-trained and unqualifiedly professional, his reorganization of the sheriff command structure was both overdue and well executed, and his management of the department, including its fiscal management, has been well performed and well received. Sheriff Hoy has again and again demonstrated maturity and keen judgment in the myriad of difficult situations with which any law enforcement agency must invariably deal. While accessible and active in the community, Joe has generally stayed below the radar and guided the department with firm and quiet authority rather than drawing attention to himself. Joe has, simply put, earned the respect of all level-headed persons who have had the pleasure of engaging him. Joe Hoy deserves another term as Eagle County sheriff. I cannot think of another person who may be entertaining challenging him who could or would bring to the table the credentials, experience, or calm and steady hand that Joe Hoy offers. Eagle County could not do better than with Joe Hoy at the helm of the Sheriff’s Office. And for these reasons, and more that the constraints of space do not allow, Joe Hoy will have my unqualified support. Rohn K. Robbins Edwards