Dunn phones in not guilty plea
Draws judge’s ire for not appearing at hearing
By Michael Maresh
Journal Staff Writer
Mark Dunn, the 46-year-old Cortez man, who is accused of firing a gun into two residences on Sept. 30, pleaded not guilty by telephone on Tuesday afternoon in district court.
District Court Judge Douglas Walker was not pleased that Dunn chose to not attend his arraignment in person.
Walker asked Dunn’s attorney, Richard Simms, how he could be sure the person making the not guilty plea was in fact the defendant.
They discussed having Dunn supply the court with his date of birth, last four numbers of his Social Security number and his mother’s maiden name.
Walker said he did not have too much confidence in these security measures, but told Simms he would take his word that the person on the phone was his client.
Walker also wanted to know why Dunn decided not to attend the arraignment in person.
“On a felony (charge), he is supposed to be here,” Walker said.
Simms said his client could have attended, but it would have meant taking the day off work and losing the $18-an-hour wage for the day. The attorney also told Walker that the job Dunn was working at was in Grand Junction.
He said if the court decided that Dunn needed to be in court for the arraignment, that could be done with a continuance.
Walker said the concern was that with Dunn not being present in person it could turn out to be prejudicial.
Simms said it could turn out to hurt the state as well.
Simms said he expected the trial to take at least five days, and Walker set the beginning of the trial for 8 a.m. on March 4.
Walker also set the pretrial hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and if there are any motions for this case they must be filed by Dec. 17, though both the prosecutor and defense attorney did not think there would be any.
Walker advised Dunn of the trial date and the next court date and told him to continue to comply with the stipulations pertaining to his bond.
Dunn asked Walker if he had to attend the pre-trial hearing in person, and Walker said it was mandatory for him to be in attendance.
Dunn is accused of firing a handgun into two residences — his home he shared with his wife, and Dunn’s brother’s home on Sept. 30.
He is charged with aggravated robbery, criminal mischief, two counts of felony menacing, felon in possession of a firearm, 3rd degree assault, theft, prohibited use of a firearm, two counts of reckless endangerment and domestic violence.