Colorado: Assault case against convicted killer dismissed
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER – A convicted cop killer was released from prison Wednesday when an assault case that could have kept him behind bars was dismissed after sitting in a prosecutor’s office for six months, officials said.
Prosecutors said they likely would not have pursued the assault charge against Charles Greenwell, 40, even if the case had not been dismissed by a judge.
“We should have sat down and looked at it,” Fremont County District Attorney Thom LeDoux told The Associated Press. “In hindsight, if we had, we would have not moved forward with the jury trial.”
Greenwell was convicted of second-degree assault in 2006 and sentenced to 16 years, but the conviction was dismissed by the Colorado Court of Appeals last August.
The case went back to district court, but a judge dismissed the charge Tuesday after prosecutors failed to advise the court whether they would retry Greenwell.
LeDoux said the assault victim, Alan Rogers of Florence, didn’t want to go through another trial. A number listed for Rogers was disconnected.
LeDoux also said Greenwell had already been punished for the alleged assault by spending four years in prison.
LeDoux said his office was notified of the reversal in November, and a miscommunication with the court led to the case not being reviewed within the time required by law.
The dismissal of charges was first reported by Colorado Springs TV station KOAA.
Greenwell was one of three people convicted in the 1985 murder-for-hire slaying of Pueblo police narcotics detective Dennis Yaklich. Greenwell pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and completed his sentence in 2004.
After his release from prison, prosecutors alleged Greenwell assaulted Rogers during a dispute over an antique table.
The state appellate court overturned that conviction, ruling prejudicial evidence had been allowed at the 2006 trial.
Until Wednesday, Greenwell was incarcerated in a state prison in Canon City.
Prosecutors said Charles Greenwell and his brother Edward Greenwell shot Yaklich in the driveway of his Avondale home on Dec. 12, 1985, in a murder-for-hire plot devised by Yaklich’s wife, Donna Yaklich.
Edward Greenwell also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was released in May 2009, said Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti.
Donna Yaklich was convicted of conspiring to have her husband killed and sentenced to 40 years in prison. She is currently on parole.