Former sheriff’s officials plead not guilty in court

Crime

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two former El Paso County sheriff’s officials pleaded not guilty in court Monday morning.

Former undersheriff Paula Presley and former commander Juan San Agustin were indicted last May on kidnapping charges.

They allegedly forced a domestic violence victim to change her story in order to protect a former sheriff’s deputy.

Presley has been charged with six felonies, while San Agustin faces two.

Presley will head to trial October 3. San Agustin’s trial is set for November 7.

Presley and San Agustin’s former boss, former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, will head to trial later this month.

“They can’t have strong feelings toward the prosecution, against the prosecution, toward Mr. Maketa, or against Mr. Maketa,” explains former prosecutor Brad Laybourne.

Laybourne, who doesn’t have ties to the case, says each jury that is called will have a lengthy questionnaire to answer.

“They have to answer questioning from the judge and they have to answer questioning, oral questioning, from both sides,” said Laybourne.

Maketa, who was indicted by a grand jury last May, faces a number of charges including six felonies.

He, along with former unndersheriff Paula Presley and former commander Juan San Agustin, allegedly conspired to force a domestic violence victim to change her story to protect a sheriff’s deputy.

Maketa also allegedly threatened to pull a multi-million dollar contract with the jail’s health care provider if they didn’t fire an employee who refused to run Presley’s campaign for sheriff in 2013.

In March, Maketa had asked a judge to move his trial saying he wouldn’t be treated fairly in El Paso County.

“When there is a high profile defendant some people tent to know what person,” said Laybourne.

But a judge said pre-trial publicity hasn’t tainted the case.

When the trial gets underway on May 31, Laybourne says prosecutors may have a hard time proving their case

“It’s going to come down to the juror’s interpretations and perceptions of the facts in this case,” added Laybourne.

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