2020 Overview: Part 2
Sexual assault conviction overturned for former Berthoud police officer
A Colorado appeals court at the end of June overturned the 2016 sexual assault conviction of Jeremy Yachik, a former Berthoud police officer and granted a new trial in the case. In its decision that was released June 25, the appeals court ruled that the trial court “abused its discretion” and “erroneously admitted evidence” related to Yachik’s prior child abuse conviction involving the same victim. The court ruled that the evidence presented was “irrelevant, prejudicial and encouraged the jury to convict the defendant based upon … that he had a bad character” instead of convicting Yachik based on the evidence pertinent to the accusation of sexual assault. The Court wrote in its decision, “there is a reasonable probability that the graphic extensive, and detailed physical abuse evidence contributed to (Yachik’s) conviction.” A
retrial for the alleged crimes that took place on Aug. 1, 2010 has been ordered.
Yachik was fired from the Berthoud Police Department in October 2014.
In a subsequent action Yachik was granted $60,000 bail by a Larimer County judge while a retrial, which was ordered by the appeals court, goes about its process.
TPC Colorado Clubhouse Opens To Public
The plan for a championship golf course with top-notch amenities that would put Berthoud on the map, not just locally but nationally, perhaps even globally, has been a long time coming. The original idea for what would become TPC Colorado was first presented to the Berthoud town board in in the mid-2000s.
This month, another monumental step was taken as TPC Colorado at Heron Lakes announced the grand opening of the 60,000 square foot first-class clubhouse. “It’s very exciting for us to see it come to fruition, this has been a long time in the planning,” said John Buser, general manager at TPC Colorado. “Our ownership group did a fantastic job through the years acquiring the parcels to make this happen, having the vision to build it the way they did; the architects, the interior designers and ultimately TPC to manage it, it was a lot of different entities that came together to make it just what we think is a world-class facility.
“Back the Blue” rally in Fickel Park attracted hundreds of supporters
A “Back the Blue” rally in support of police attracted approximately 300 people to Fickel Park Sunday. Supporters stood along Mountain Avenue waving American Flags and holding signs with messages of support for law enforcement. The number of people who showed up to the park exceeded the expectations of the event’s organizer, former Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputy and military veteran Ryan Armagost.
Rally supporters spread out throughout the park as well as lining the street. Families and people of all ages waved to vehicles as they passed, many honked horns and waved back. Armagost had intended the event to be small and predominantly attended by local residents. After posting an event announcement on Facebook about the rally several weeks ago news quickly
spread and over a thousand people indicated they were interested in attending. Shortly after the announcement, a post was circulated on Reddit and other social media depicting a cartoon of someone urinating on an upside-down American flag, encouraging protestors to attend the rally.
The post was shared to dozens of “anarchist” and “anti-fascist” groups in the state. Several reposts of the call to protest mentioned the events that took place at a pro-police rally in Denver the previous weekend. At that event anti-police protesters
walked into an amphitheater banging drums, blowing whistles, clanging pots, and shouting
obscenities to drown out the pro-police rally.
Clashes between the groups led to some isolated
violence. Armagost was concerned about these posts and notified the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of the event. Around 10 a.m. approximately 30 protestors marched down Mountain Avenue toward the rally chanting and holding a banner that said, “Defund
the Police.” A large group of rally attendees met the group in the road but were separated
from the protestors by deputies attempting to get the protestors to move from the main thoroughfare to the sidewalk across from the park.
Larimer County Fair, 2020 edition, held .
“It wasn’t a normal year”— what may be the understatement of a lifetime is perhaps the simplest way to describe the 2020 Larimer County Fair, as it has been for so many events in recent months. Yet, unlike so many other events that were canceled due to COVID, the fair went on
in spite of it, proving like never before that determination and resilience reign supreme in the 4-H community.
“There was a lot of turning on a dime, trying to make decisions a week before things were happening, and not knowing what some things would look like until the last minute,” said Kathy Mason, communications specialist for Larimer County’s CSU Extension. “It wasn’t easy but we had volunteers and committees and The Ranch staff and 4-H kids who all came together and said, ‘Okay, how are we going to make this happen?’” With so many other things canceled this year, particularly for kids. Larimer County 4-H Agent Brittani Kirkland said everyone involved was determined to make fair happen, even if it wouldn’t look the same as in the past. One of the biggest changes to fair included limiting the number of people in attendance to comply with state regulations. This meant capping the number of animals each participant could show, grouping 4-Hers by last name rather than bringing everyone onto the fairgrounds at once
and, for many the most difficult change to swallow of all, limiting guests to one adult per participant.
Weggener Farm Park construction underway
A small gathering of current and former town board trustees, PORT (Parks, Open Space, Recreation and Trails) committee members and town personnel met at the construction site for the Waggener Farm Park complex near the corner of Bunyan Avenue and Berthoud Parkway for a progress walk-through Tuesday evening. A groundbreaking ceremony had been scheduled for the site in March but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Berthoud Town Administrator Chris Kirk introduced the event by saying it was a time to celebrate the start of construction and have an opportunity to, “memorialize what is a very historic event in the town
Cameron Peak Fire continues to grow
Wildfires have consumed over 220 square miles of forest in Colorado since July 27. Continuing drought conditions have settled in across the entire state and weather forecasts
show little relief with more hot and dry weather on the way.
Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday that he has issued a 30-day state-wide ban on open fires. “We need to do everything we can to stop new fires from starting in the first place,” Polis said on Tuesday. Officials said it is being presumed that three of the four major fires in the state were man-made with one being attributed to lightning. Larimer County Commissioners on Tuesday issued a fire ban for unincorporated parts of the county. This includes restrictions on camp stoves, grills and cooking fires, welding, smoking in the open, fireworks and charcoal or wood pellet grills. The Cameron Peak Fire located in western Larimer County has exceeded 15,738
acres or nearly 25 square miles with 0% containment on Wednesday morning. The
southern edge of the fire is approximately 45 miles northwest of Berthoud and is nearing
the northwest border of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Berthoud homicide under investigation
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office reported over the weekend a possible homicide in Berthoud.
Deputies responded to a home in the 800 block of Douglas Place near Berthoud High School at
1:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, after receiving a call reporting a disturbance involving a gun. When
deputies arrived on the scene they found a 37-year-old male deceased and took another 37-year-old male into custody. A report from the Larimer County Coroner’s Office confirmed Edward Brooks Kreutzer, of Johnstown was the victim of a fatal shooting. Brandon G. McLaughlin, was booked into the Larimer County Jail Saturday on an allegation of First Degree Murder, a Class 1 Felony, with no bond.
McLaughlin, a Johnstown resident, made his second appearance in court on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Fort Collins Justice Center where he was granted bond along with the conditions of that bond, and a future court date was established. McLaughlin is facing charges of First-Degree Murder in the fatal shooting that took place in Berthoud in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 5.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Larimer County district attorney’s office revealed that it would not file formal criminal charges against a man who was arrested on suspicion of murder in a fatal shooting that took place in Berthoud earlier in September.
Brandon McLaughlin, was arrested Sept. 5 based upon probable cause by deputies from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. McLaughlin was accused of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Edward Brooks Kreutzer, of Johnstown. Kreutzer died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide by the Larimer County coroner. McLaughlin had been granted a $100,000 bond.
A press release sent out by the district attorney’s office explained the decision to forgo pressing charges at this time involved the possibility that McLaughlin’s acts were in self-defense. The statement continued by saying, “The People require additional information to determine whether the defendant acted in justified defense of himself or another (affirmative defense), and if not, whether the defendant acted with intent and after deliberation (required for murder in the first degree).”
Former Berthoud teacher charged with rape in Utah
A former Berthoud High School teacher and basketball coach has been charged with four first-degree felony charges of rape following his arrest Dec. 1 in Utah.
Zachery Kent Denison, 28, who resigned from his teaching position at Berthoud High School where he was also the boys basketball coach on Nov.1 has been accused of being in a sexual
relationship with a former student.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case the female student
told authorities that the sexual relationship with Denison began in February
2019 when she was 14 years old, while he was teaching at Mt. Nebo Junior High in Payson,
Denison told authorities he had initiated contact with his student and reportedly confirmed that the sexual intercourse that began in 2019 was consensual. Denison surrendered a laptop and cellphone to police after allegedly stating that he and the juvenile had exchanged nude photographs through social media.
Denison was the girl’s teacher as well as the girl’s basketball coach at the Utah middle school.
After moving to Colorado Denison would allegedly return to Utah occasionally to meet the girl for sexual intercourse at various locations including Denison’s home and the girl’s home.
The victim reported the sex offense to authorities Nov. 29.
According to Utah Criminal Code the age of consent in the state is 18 years old, however for
those over the age of 14 if the relationship was consensual the penalty is considered a third-degree felony. In this instance the first-degree charges stem from Denison holding a position of
special trust over the victim who was under the age of 18.
Denison is being held in the Utah County Jail in Spanish Fork, Utah, without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17 at the Provo District Courthouse.
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