DENVER – Thaddeus Cheyenne Murphy, age 44, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was arrested late yesterday on charges of arson and being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ATF and Colorado Springs Police Department announced. Murphy is believed responsible for placing a device at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Murphy is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon in the Arraj Federal Courthouse, 901 19th Street, where he will be advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. A detention hearing and preliminary hearing will be scheduled for a date to be set next week.
According to an affidavit in support of a Criminal Complaint, on January 6, 2015 at 10:48 am the Colorado Springs Police department received reports of an explosion at a building located at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Police officers responded, as did their bomb squad. Further, soon thereafter federal agents from the FBI and the ATF jointly responded to the scene to work with the police department in conducting the investigation. The device was a road flare and pipe bomb near a container of gasoline. The device was lit, causing an explosion. The gasoline did not ignite. The building and sidewalk were charred as a result of this device.
Multiple interviews were done by law enforcement of witnesses who noticed a specific type of truck and an individual fleeing the scene. Extensive investigation done by law enforcement eventually lead to the identification of a truck that closely matched the description of the truck fleeing the scene. Also, the person driving the truck generally resembled the sketch drawn by the Colorado Springs Police Department. After determining the individual’s identity, and developing probable cause that the owner of the truck, Thaddeus Murphy, was the likely person responsible for the device, federal agents working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained a search warrant of the target’s home. While executing the warrant, agents and officers found seven firearms, and devices similar to the one used at the building. Murphy has prior felony convictions, which made it illegal for him to possess the firearms. Also during the search, Murphy was interviewed by federal law enforcement where he stated that the target of his criminal actions was not the NAACP, but that he had a different motive. The investigation continues regarding the motive for the attack. The residents of Colorado Springs, and the occupants of the building in question, can rest assured that the person who allegedly placed the device is now in custody.
Murphy is charged with one count of arson of a building. If convicted on that count, he faces not less than 5 years, and up to a $250,000 fine. He also faces one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted on that count, he faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case is being jointly investigated by the FBI, ATF and the Colorado Springs Police Department with support from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Holloway and Beth Gibson.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
The charges in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— City Clerk Sarah Johnson provided official certification to City Council today that a sufficient petition has been filed for the recall of District 4 Council Member Helen Collins. The City Clerk’s Office has determined that the Petitioner’s Committee that initiated the recall effort has met the threshold of valid signatures required to place the recall question on the April 7, 2015 Municipal Election ballot.
As required by the City Charter, the Petitioner’s Committee needed to obtain enough valid signatures to equate to 25% of the total ballots cast in Council District 4 in the April 2, 2013 Municipal Election, or 1,485 valid signatures. The petitioners turned in 3,007 signatures and the City Clerk determined 1,715 to be valid voter signatures.
• If the Council Member sought to be removed from office does not resign within five (5) days of the City’s Clerk’s certification that a sufficient petition has been filed, the recall question will be placed on the April ballot along with the 200 word statement from the Petitioner’s Committee on reasons for demanding the recall, and, if desired, a 300 word statement from the Councilmember.
• If the Council Member chooses not to resign, the City Clerk will open a candidate filing period for City Council District 4 candidates to coincide with the current regular filing period for Mayor and City Council candidates, closing on February 11, 2015.
On 01/06/2015 at approximately 10:45am MT, an improvised explosive device was detonated against the exterior wall of a building located at 603 South El Paso Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The building is occupied by Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios and the NAACP. A gasoline can had been placed adjacent to the device, however, the contents of the can did not ignite upon explosion. There were no deaths or injuries resulting from the explosion, and only minimal surface charring to the exterior wall of the building. FBI Denver, in conjunction with Colorado Springs Police Department, is on scene.——-ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, 1:39 P.M.——-
A potential person of interest in this investigation is a Caucasian male, approximately 40 years of age, and balding. He may be driving a 2000 or older model dirty, white pick-up truck with paneling, a dark colored bed liner, open tailgate, and a missing or covered license plate.
If anyone has information regarding the above incident or individual, please call the FBI Denver tip line at (303) 435-7787.
Supreme Court Lets Marriage Wins Stand
Decision not to review lower-court victories means number of states with freedom to marry to skyrocket, but still falls short of national resolution
New York – Today the Supreme Court denied review of five cases seeking the freedom to marry, leaving standing marriage victories in several federal circuits and opening the door to the freedom to marry in many more states, while deferring for another day the national resolution that Freedom to Marry, businesses, elected officials, and families across the country had urged now. The Court’s decision not to review the rulings means that soon as many as 60% of the American people will be living in freedom to marry states, with a majority of the states (30) having the freedom to marry for all.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves in force five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, ensuring the freedom to marry for millions more Americans around the country. The Court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states, representing 60% of the American people. But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the Court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. As waves of freedom to marry litigation continue to surge, we will continue to press the urgency and make the case that America – all of America — is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should finish the job.”
With the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the cases, favorable marriage rulings in the 10th Circuit, the 7th Circuit, and the 4th Circuit will soon go into effect. Marriage bans in every state within those circuits will be invalidated, adding Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin to the list of freedom to marry states. As a result of the Court’s decision, an additional 51 million Americans will live in a freedom to marry state.
In total, 41 federal and state courts in the past year have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples with only one federal and one state ruling going the other way. Five of these marriage wins were before the Supreme Court for possible review.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – City for Champions reached an important milestone today when the final resolution was unanimously approved by the Colorado State Economic Development Commission.Neumann, by the way, is Bach's former chief of staff who quit earlier this year.
Adoption of this final resolution means that the EDC’s approval of the City for Champions Regional Tourism Act application on December 16, 2013, in the unprecedented amount of $120.5M has been formalized.
After much collaboration between the City, County and State officials and a good deal of work by hundreds of citizens, business and community leaders working to ensure the success of the initiative, this agreement gives a triumphant green light to the four City for Champions project components to move forward in the development process.
In addition, this allows the RTA Advisory Board, a stellar and diverse group of local citizens, to begin its important work in crafting specific requirements for the extraordinary City for Champions initiative.
“We are grateful to the State Economic Development Commission, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the State Attorney General’s office for granting the City of Colorado Springs this historic opportunity and for their efforts in completing this resolution and their partnership on these exciting projects,” said Bob Cope, Senior Business Climate Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs.
The adoption of the resolution was heralded with great enthusiasm by the leader of the citizen-led grassroots proponents of City for Champions, Laura Neumann, as she noted that “Now action can really begin to allow the four projects to be the catalyst for economic and job growth, business creation, start-up companies, recreational and outdoor initiatives, retaining young professionals and more. Hundreds of thousands of people will benefit from this bold and legacy-making decision the Commissioners made today.”
Having seen an ambulance tear off with an injured woman, multiple cars flipped near the Cliff House, and refrigerators mixed in with logs and debris near the Briarhurst Manor Estate, Indy reporter J. Adrian Stanley affirms that Friday's flood off the Waldo Canyon burn scar is "much worse" than any to date this summer.
As of about 9:30 p.m., reports are that at least three people have been injured. KOAA is reporting that Canon Avenue evacuees won't be allowed to return home until tomorrow; there is a shelter set up at the Historic Manitou Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.
Below are some photos Adrian took while walking through town both during and after the storm. One thing not pictured, but that she reports, is that some properties damaged in the July 1 flood were further harmed today. In fact, in some cases, the Dumpsters that were on-site as part of their cleanup efforts were toppled and sent into the homes themselves.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has been an ardent supporter of forest health and wildland firefighting, and he continues to probe for more information to enhance how fires are managed.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Udall wrote a letter Monday to Northern Command leader Gen. Charles Jacoby and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell asking for a retrospective for the Black Forest Fire.
Udall, along with Colorado's other Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, instigated a major study following the Waldo Canyon Fire that investigates the ecological, social and operational issues involved in fighting that blaze, which claimed 347 homes in Colorado Springs last year.
In his latest effort, Udall thanks Jacoby and Tidwell for their participation in the Black Forest Fire and what further lessons might be learned. He also asked them to explain procedural changes that made the rapid response possible.
From a news release:
Udall has been a leading voice for ensuring that Colorado and the West have adequate resources to prepare for the threat of wildfire, including pressing the U.S. Air Force to quickly transfer and repurpose excess aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires. He also led the fight to ensure the U.S. Forest Service was able to cut through red tape and secure seven next-generation air tankers. One of the next-generation air tankers Udall fought to acquire helped fight the Black Forest Fire.
Udall also pushed to pass a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Senate's 2014 budget to allocate $100 million more for wildland firefighting and he successfully secured federal funds to repair drinking-water supplies damaged by 2012's Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.
Here's his letter to Jacoby and Tidwell:
The votes are in among state Senate District 11's Republican heavyweights, and former Colorado Springs City Councilor Bernie Herpin is their choice to fight Senate President John Morse in a recall election.
Herpin took 62.5 percent of the vote, leaving political newcomer Jaxine Bubis with just 37.5 percent.
Here's the release from El Paso County GOP director of operations Daniel Cole:
Today, Senate District 11 officers and precinct leaders selected Bernie Herpin as the El Paso County Republican Party’s nominee in the Senate District 11 recall election.
By the terms of the agreement both candidates signed on June 28, Jaxine Bubis is expected to withdraw from the race.
51 individuals were eligible to vote in this process. 30 voted for Bernie Herpin and 18 for Jaxine Bubis, for a total of 48 votes cast. The process was administered by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder at the expense of the El Paso County Republican Party. Electors voted in person at El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM today, July 9.
Chairman Jeff Hays stated, “Bernie Herpin and Jaxine Bubis ran against each other for the Republican nomination, but each agreed the other would be a huge improvement over Sen. John Morse. They were both willing to put their campaigns on the line in order to maximize our opportunity to make the recall effort successful.
“Congratulations to Bernie Herpin for winning the Republican nomination. The El Paso County Republican Party looks forward to supporting his campaign.
“We owe Jaxine Bubis respect and a debt of gratitude. She was willing to subordinate her personal goals to the imperative of removing John Morse from office and replacing him with a senator more attentive to his constituents. You’re taking one for the team, Jaxine. Thank you.
“As we move forward, I urge El Paso County Republicans to band together and focus on recalling John Morse. We’re talking about a legislator so extreme, so out-of-touch, that Rep. Ed Vigil, a Democrat from Fort Garland, called one of Morse’s bills this session ‘crazy’ and ‘absolutely nuts.’ Recalling John Morse is not a question of Democrat vs. Republican. It’s a question of sanity vs. insanity.”
For more on both Herpin and Bubis, see Wednesday's Independent.
The estimate for structure damage caused by the Black Forest Fire has been revised to $90 million from a higher figure provided earlier this week by El Paso County Assessor Mark Lowderman.
"The problem isn't necessarily with the data gathered by the deputies during the fire," Lowderman says. "The problem was on an IT level. When they tried to update the data, they had multiple people doing it, and when they merged the data, they duplicated some of the data."
But Lowderman called the $90 million figure "very, very preliminary," because his crew has physically inspected only 500 of 2,400 lots so far.
"To really get an accurate number, it's gonna take us a while," he says, noting 15 of his full-time employees are inspecting and reappraising the burn area. He says he expects the $90 million figure to grow.
Just like last year for owners of Mountain Shadows homes that burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire, tax bills on damaged or destroyed homes will be adjusted. "Everything will be on [tax rolls] at 100 percent from January 1 to June 10," Lowderman says. "Then from June 11 to Dec. 31, it will be a land value for six months of the year."
Although the removal of so many homes from the tax rolls might not pose a large hit on revenue for the county, Lowderman says it might be a different story for the Black Forest Fire Department, which relies heavily on residential property instead of commercial property.
The structure-damage total for losses in the Waldo Canyon Fire was $121.5 million, Lowderman says.
Meantime, late yesterday, El Paso County set up a Long Range Recovery Planning Committee to oversee recovery, restoration and rebuilding efforts within the Black Forest Burn area. The panel will be co-chaired by Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Amy Lathen.
“Information from this group will be disseminated via our normal communications channels and through the recently established HOA/neighborhood communication network,” Glenn said in a release.
These elected officials will be represented on the panel:
• US Senators Udall/Bennett's Office
• Congressman Doug Lamborn's Office
• State Senator Kent Lambert
• State House Representative Amy Stephens
• State House Representative Dan Norburg
• El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Here's a list of residents who have been named to the committee:
• Edward Bracken
• Donna Arkowski
• Carolyn Brown
• Judy von Ahlefeldt
• Leif Garrison
• Laura Carno
• Sean Perkins