Plea deal ends drama

Man first accused of kidnapping

Keywords: Poll question,

The man, who was initially arrested in Durango on July 6 on suspicion of kidnapping, has accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors in the 22nd Judicial District.

Lee Roy Cole, 51, was arrested July 6 in the Home Depot parking lot in Durango. The Durango Police Department had received a report that the a woman had been kidnapped in Cortez and was hiding in the women’s bathroom at the Durango Walmart.

The charges Cole faces do not include any type of abduction.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Hughes said Cole was charged with felony theft, a class 4 felony, which involves taking services or goods valued more than $1,000 without paying for them.

Hughes said the charge stems from Cole racking up more than $5,000 in bills at the Holiday Inn Express in Cortez. Cole had been living at the motel for several months without paying for the rented room.

The presumptive sentence for this crime is two to six years in prison and a fine.

The second felony Cole was charged with was for defrauding an innkeeper, a class 6 felony, which also stemmed from not paying his hotel bill.

The punishment for this crime is one year to 18 months in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000.

However, Cole waived his preliminary hearing, leading prosecutors to believe he will be accepting the plea agreement offered to him.

Under the terms of the plea, Cole will plead guilty to defrauding an innkeeper, and the theft charge would be dismissed.

The plea agreement calls for Cole to receive up to 90 days in jail and probation. The next court date for Cole, who remains in custody on a $4,000 bail, will be July 26 in district court.

The incident, in which a kidnapping was thought to have occurred, apparently started after Cole, being sought on a warrant requested by the Cortez Police Department fled to California where he was arrested, bonded out, then fled the bond and returned to Cortez.

The warrant was issued for defrauding an innkeeper. A couple of agents, possibly representing the bonding service, tracked Cole to Cortez and discovered him at the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc.

When Cole exited the casino and saw several police officers in the parking lot, he drove away with Cortez resident Deanna Tindall, 44, in the car.

Tindall told police that she told Cole she didn’t want to go and asked him to let her out of the car, but she claimed he wouldn’t.

Tindall and Cole apparently had a relationship before the incident, and that she, too, was arrested on a warrant for defrauding an innkeeper.

When Cole reached Durango, Tindall told police she convinced him she was sick, and he let her use the bathroom inside Walmart. She told police he had a handgun in the van, but Cole never entered Walmart or used any weapon.