Maketa retrial ends in acquittal, partial mistrial

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Former El Paso County sheriff Terry Maketa has been found not guilty of the two misdemeanor charges against him. The two felony counts he faced ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous decision. 

Maketa walked out of the courtroom with a smile on his face, saying he’s very pleased with the outcome. 

This marks the ninth day of the trial, with more than 12 hours of jury deliberations. 

Jurors asked several questions, with the most recent one happening Monday afternoon, when they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on the felony extortion charges. They asked the judge, “What do we do?” The defense asked the judge for a hung jury, but the judge declined, calling for jurors to redouble their efforts in reaching a unanimous decision.

Four hours later, the jury was called into the courtroom, saying they couldn’t reach a consensus on the charges.

The two felony extortion charges, including conspiracy to commit extortion, stemmed from a former employee of the jail’s health care provider, who was allegedly fired on a threat that if it didn’t happen, he would pull a $5 million contract with Correctional Healthcare Companies. 

Maketa also faced two counts of official misconduct regarding former deputies Ray Gerhart and Jim Reid. Maketa was accused of maliciously causing harm to these deputies by placing them on the Brady List, a list of names of deputies who have departed from the truth. 

“Although we are disappointed in the not guilty verdicts, we absolutely respect this jury 100 percent,” 18th Judicial District assistant district attorney Mark Hurlbert said. “They obviously took their time and were very serious about these charges, and we appreciate all their time and all their hard work on this.”

The jury found Maketa not guilty of the misconduct charges, but could not agree on the two felony extortion counts, so the judge declared a mistrial on those. 

Maketa will be back in court for a status hearing at 8:30 a.m. February 27. 

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