Outlaw spent year in prison, records say | VailDaily.com

Outlaw spent year in prison, records say

Veronica Whitney

Special to the DailyBrandon Outlaw is scheduled to be sentenced for embezzling today.

When District Attorney Mark Hurlbert offered Brandon Outlaw a plea agreement, the prosecutor said he didn’t know that the convicted embezzler was also facing drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma. The plea offer didn’t include prison time because this was Outlaw’s first felony offense, Hurlbert said.

Hulbert apparently also did not know that Outlaw was convicted in Oklahoma in May 1994 of a sexual battery that occured in 1991, according to a report from the District Court in Tulsa County, Okla.

The 31-year-old former Avon resident has pleaded guilty to stealing $700,000 in local homeowners fees and will be at the Eagle County Justice Center today for sentencing in the case.

According to Oklahoma court records, Outlaw’s sentence in the sexual battery case initially was deferred in 1992 for three years. In May 1994, a judge revoked Outlaw’s suspended sentence and sentenced him to three years in prison. Outlaw was in an Oklahoma state prison from June 1994 to August 1995, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

When he offered a plea bargain in the Eagle County case, Hurlbert said, he was unaware of drug charges filed against Outlaw in August in Oklahoma. Outlaw faces two counts of trafficking in illegal drugs. He is accused of selling cocaine and ecstasy, according to court records filed in Tulsa, Okla.

“I don’t think people know how criminal this guy is,” said Jeff Antonius, one of Outlaw’s victims and a Vail Point homeowner. “We are looking at a career criminal.”

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Hurlbert couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday.

In October, Outlaw pleaded guilty to embezzling homeowners fees paid by about 400 Eagle County residents. Under the plea agreement, Outlaw pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one misdemeanor sexual offense.

In the past months, local victims have written to District Judge Tom Moorhead to ask him to reject the plea, which requires Outlaw to pay restitution of $112,000 and spend up to 90 days in jail.

According to Oklahoma court records, Outlaw’s drug-trafficking offense happened on June 26 in Tulsa County. That was months before he pleaded guilty to stealing from several homeowners associations in Eagle County.

On Dec. 16, several of Outlaw’s victims showed up at the Eagle County Justice Center to see what they expected would be the end of the 2-year-old case. But upon the request of Outlaw’s attorney, Barbara Parnell, Moorhead continued the hearing because Outlaw’s sentencing report from the probation department had been late.

“It seems to me that unless people get put away, they’ll keep doing it,” said Jim Kearney, a Vail Point homeowner whose money was allegedly embezzled by Outlaw. “This is bad for Eagle County.”

At the Dec. 16 hearing, Moorhead said he was hesitant to accept the sentence proposed by Hurlbert. Hurlbert requested up to 90 days in jail, and the probation department is recommending six years in prison.

Outlaw was scheduled to appear in District Court in Tulsa County for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 11, but the hearing was postponed until Jan. 4.

If convicted on the drug-trafficking charges, Outlaw could go to prison for more than 20 years.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.