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Not a murderer

I was quite surprised a few days ago to see my dear friend Todd Newmiller's picture on the cover of the Independent ("Reasonable doubt?" Feb. 1). First off, I just wanted to say that I felt the article was well-written, addressing all sides in a non-biased position.

I am writing because I wanted to tell you a little bit about Todd Newmiller.

If you actually knew Todd personally, you'd know that there is no way that he could've possibly been the killer. Todd is the kind of guy who would help out anyone he can. Having a lot of money wasn't a high priority in his eyes.

Family and friends were what ruled Todd's heart. Some friends Todd actually considered part of his family.

It makes me really sad to hear about the lack of investigation that went on in this tragic crime. Hearing and reading about what happened shows me that the evidence does not clearly rule Todd out as the only possible suspect. It's a real disappointment to me that all charges were dropped against another suspect for his version of the "truth."

Calling Todd a "product of privilege" is just plain disrepectful toward his family. Todd comes from a good family and has had the upbringing every child deserves. Such a thing is no way, shape or form a privilege.

There is no doubt in my mind that Todd is innocent. I really hope more of his friends speak out on his behalf.

Ariel Crawford via e-mail

Proper verdict

Although this is a newspaper supported by friends and family of Todd Newmiller, I feel compelled to reply. I too would feel sorry for the Newmiller family and anyone else who would read last week's one-sided article. Believe me when I say none knew Anthony Madril as we did.

You have printed in your article half-truths and "understatements" to the whole facts of this murder trial. It seems to me once again that the whole truth (testimony) is not being stated in print.

What a sad story it is. Your son is in prison, a jury convicted him on the facts, you spent $160,000 in your life savings defending him. The pictures, how sad! Anthony Robert Madril, son of Bonnie Madril, brother of Mark and Joe Rush, grandson to Marlene and Melvin Flowers not to mention a loved one to so many others in our family, is dead!

What I've heard and seen in court, in my opinion, isa factual account of what happened that November night. Todd Newmiller had the onlyknife that was found to have Anthony's blood on it. He was seen chasing after the truck. He also agreed to burn clothing. I heard his own brother say, with my own ears,in court: "I stabbed one of them." His statement was convoluted? How, Joel?

Why, Todd Newmiller, why would you not step up and take your own defense if you were innocent? Your family members (and defense attorneys) have never given good enough reason to doubt guilt. We (Madrils) do not believe Todd Newmiller was wrongly convicted!

We are still grieving for Anthony and find this article truly offensive (showing Anthony's bloody shoes on the front page). Show a little compassion to the victims of crime. We are human also, and have feelings. Not a day goes by that we don't think of this and remember our Anthony.

Linda Atherton

Colorado Springs

A blue note

I really enjoyed your 52 Fridays insert. However, I was disappointed to see that The Blue Star didn't make the list. I feel like The Blue Star is one of the best local restaurants that the Springs has to offer. With its continually changing inventive menu, huge wine list, great atmosphere and fantastic waitstaff, I wonder why they were not taken into consideration. It is my hope they will be included in the upcoming years. Thank you for the other suggestions, I look forward to trying them.

Aubrey Milosevic

via e-mail

Interested party

I read, with great interest, your article on the City Auditorium ("Show time?" News, Jan. 25). I formed the Friends of the Historic Colorado Springs City Auditorium Inc., four years ago. Since then, we have been working to restore the Lon Chaney Theatre. We have been raising money to restore the seats and the interior.

To date, we have had 85 seats "sold" and have approximately 145 to go. These funds are being generated by individuals and members of the Friends group at $220 per seat, which includes a brass plaque for the person or group being honored.

If you will go to our Web site, historiconline.org, it explains what we are doing and what the auditorium was built for. It was not a performing arts center, but a multi-purpose auditorium, built "For the Use of the People and the Glory of theCity," which is inscribed, in Latin,on the proscenium arch above the stage.

A number of repairs have been made in the past few years. New roof, new stage, new grand curtain, asbestos removal, refinishing main floor, installing a new floor in the inner lobby, upgrades to the restrooms, sandblasting and cleaning the exterior, replacing all damaged windows and repairing and paintingall the rest. Two new boilers replaced the 83-year-old original boiler.

Computer hookups have been installed throughout the auditorium, and under the stage is the training center for computer operations for the city. There is a large model train layout, open to the public on certain days, and organ concerts and silent films are shown. The 1927 Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, which was moved to the Auditorium, when the Chief (Burns) Theatre, was demolished, is used for many programs.

Thanks for your article and interest. That's what we need, to accomplish the restoration of the Auditorium.

Robert C. Lillie, vice president,

Friends of the Historic Colorado Springs City Auditorium, Inc.

Colorado Springs

System failure

This letter is in regard to the Castle West apartment fire and, more importantly, the main suspect in this act of violence, Derrick Johnson. The fact that this guy had numerous felonies and was let go every time, either on a plea bargain to a lesser charge, or probation, which he was sentenced to many times, shows how the system that is supposed to protect our community is failing miserably.

Anyone who looks at the past history of this criminal, to include a sex offender charge, child abuse, criminal trespassing, felony menacing, aggravated robbery, possession of a dangerous weapon, harassment, domestic violence, burglary and theft, to name a few, knows this man is clearly a menace to society.

The judges who continuously released this man should be held as accountable for this tragedy as the perpetrator himself. Prior to August 2003, he had five felony charges dismissed! He signed up for domestic violence classes three times and never showed up to one class, yet remained on probation! I say, fire that probation officer immediately. They are not doing their job.

They say the domestic violence laws are so tough because they are so concerned that someone like Derrick Johnson may snap, and something really bad will happen. And it did! Do we honestly believe that they did not see the signs? I know hundreds of men that are going to pay dearly for this, men who may have had an argument with their spouses but lead otherwise normal, domestic violence-free lives.

Domestic violence is wrong. It will always be wrong. But let's look at the bigger picture here. The system failed, and they knew it all along. How can they sleep at night?

Tracy Bryant

Debt to whom?

Most people go into debt to buy and own their home. Investors buy bonds and CDs so that we can borrow to buy. I receive many offers of credit from credit companies and banks because they make loads of money handling that kind of transaction, loaning me other people's money.

I have a question: Who handles the national debt? If a big chunk of our U.S. budget is interest on the national debt, to whom is it profitable that we are in debt?

Take, for example, that bonds are getting 4 percent interest. If the taxpayer is paying 6 percent interest, then who gets the difference?

Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank?

Who owns the Bureau of Public Debt?

If the U.S. taxpayer is not able to make the payments, can "they" or, worse, foreign governments or investors, foreclose and take our assets? And what would they be, our ports? Communist China and Abu Dhabi? Is that why BP (British Petroleum) is pumping "their" oil out of Alaska?

Gary King

Colorado Springs

Tribute to Ivins

I will really miss columnist Molly Ivins, especially during the rest of the Bush administration. She was at her best when she was in high outrage, and there is so much to be outraged about today.

She certainly had Bush's number, the whole time. She was right on target with her early warnings of the Bush catastrophe.

Quoting Molly at her best:

"What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn't supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and lives? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny?

"Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders... We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!'"

Rest in peace and Godspeed, Molly.

Alan L. Light

Iowa City, Iowa

Forgotten founders

Where has the intelligence of our forefathers gone? James Madison wrote, "Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded."

This is why they kept the power to fund a war separate from the power to conduct a war, giving the president the power of the sword and the Congress the power of the purse.

Congress not only has the power, but the duty to end the illegal military engagements in Iraq. The results of the recent election, two months of study and consultation, and decisions made across the political spectrum arguing for a new policy prompted the question of whether the president would persist in his war escalation policy despite congressional opposition.

In his ever-imminent intelligence, President Bush cockily replied, "Frankly, that's not their responsibility!" Statements that roll easily off our leader's tongue, such as "I am the decider," just make me cringe. Madison and the boys must be rolling over in their graves in disbelief. Congress needs to do its job and follow the law that our brilliant forefathers established, exerting its will over this sophomoric leadership.

Sharlene White

Colorado Springs

Clarification

Please inform Louis Fowler that Penelope Cruz is Spanish. She was born in Madrid and started acting there at a young age. Saying that she is Mexican is like saying that Catherine Zeta-Jones is American.

Hector Leyba

Penrose

Fowler replies: I know that Cruz, in reality,is Spanish, but in the film,her characteris Mexican, so that's what I was referring to when I said "Mexican heroines."

Correction

In last week's coverage of the James Ford Seale case ("A media timeline," News), the date the federal indictment came down should have been Jan. 24, 2007. The Independent regrets the error.

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