Leadville man threatens DA
And a recent phone call from a Leadville man to district prosecutor Mark Hurlbert is now in the hands of a special prosecutor to determine what, if any, crimes were committed and if charges will follow.
“What it shows is that we take a threat to the district attorney seriously,” said Mark Hurlbert, district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, which spans Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek Counties. “We’re going to take action.”
Hurlbert said that on Jan. 1, George Yeakel, 64, of Leadville, telephoned his office. Yeakel reportedly asked that Deputy District Attorney Arly Miner be charged with domestic violence, harassment and lying for asking the court to sentence a woman in poor health to one year in jail for driving under the influence.
The man apparently called Miner names and told Hurlbert she should be fired. During the conversation, Yeakel reportedly told the prosecutor about a district attorney in another city that was murdered, saying something similar could happen to the district attorney in Leadville.
When told by Hurlbert that it is a crime to make such threats, Yeakel apparently said it wasn’t him, but others who wanted Miner dead.
Hurlbert wasn’t amused, and said the conversation constituted a veiled threat, in that Yeakel talked about homicide, saying the same could happen to Miner.
The incident spilled over into the Lake County Courthouse the following day, when Yeakel apparently began screaming to Max Duarte, of the sheriff’s office. Duarte said the man was upset because the prosecutor tried to give Jackie Arnold, 60, a year-long sentence for DUI.
Duarte reportedly told the enraged man to stop yelling, and the pair went into a nearby office. County Commissioner Jim Martin heard Yeakel’s foul language and also warned the man to stop yelling. Yeakel eventually left, and both Martin and Duarte filled out official statements in the case.
Several days later, Sheriff’s Lt. Carl Martschinske spoke with Yeakel at Safeway and asked him about the threats. The officer told the man he could be charged with disorderly conduct for his actions at the courthouse.
The threat and courthouse disturbance apparently stemmed from a county court hearing following a traffic accident Arnold had last year, allegedly while under the influence of drugs. She reportedly had three prior DUIs from a decade ago, and despite the year in jail requested by Miner, the woman received a 90-day lockup.
“People who drive under the influence not only put the community in danger, but themselves,” said Miner. “My job is to protect both. If she can’t stop herself or take care of herself, we need to do something to help her.”
Besides the threat, Miner said, also at issue is the idea that people often refuse to take responsibility for their actions, preferring to pin the blame elsewhere instead of where it belongs.
“The judge is the one that does the sentencing, not me,” she added. “I’m more horrified that people think they can make threats. I think it’s even more offensive to the community that people don’t respect each other.”
In Eagle County, Hurlbert and Sheriff Joe Hoy have received threats over the prosecution of NBA star Kobe Bryant. The alleged victim in the case has also been threatened.