Olathe man dedicates time to making sure felon sentenced


Even in Olathe, there are people who plan to attend a sentencing hearing in Moffat County on Monday.

Don Manley is scheduled to be sentenced for felony criminal mischief and violating bail bond conditions. Manley is a previously convicted felon who destroyed a Craig woman's house and many of her belongings. Then, in August 2003, after pleading guilty to criminal mischief in excess of $15,000, he fled the state and skipped court appearances in Moffat and Montrose counties.

After authorities tracked him down in Texas, Manley was extradited to Colorado and later got a five-year prison sentence in Montrose.

But even before his transgressions in Craig, Manley was wreaking havoc in other jurisdictions, according to the man who, for more than two years, has been Manley's shadow.

George Garrison, an Olathe man in his 70s, said he was suspicious of Manley since the two first met in 2001. Garrison's daughter brought Manley over for dinner. She was sweet on the slick-talking Harley-Davidson enthusiast, Garrison said.

But Garrison and his wife felt differently. It wasn't long before Garrison found out about a civil case a Craig woman brought against Manley in 2001. That judgement awarded the victim more than $138,000.

"Then," Garrison says, "we set forth."

Working out of his home, Garrison racked up big phone bills calling courts and police departments all across the country.

"I petitioned Florida for Manley's records," Garrison said.

There, he uncovered a string of arrests and charges including, "disorderly conduct, prowling, marijuana possession, burglary, carrying a concealed weapon," Garrison said.

He went on to contact Texas, Oregon and Florida. In Wyoming, Manley broke his leg in a failed attempt to escape from jail, Garrison said.

Garrison said he took notes and kept records of his findings.

"There's six felonies on this first page," Garrison said.

Garrison even turned Manley into the state of Oregon for delinquent child-support payments.

"Everywhere I looked, he left people holding the bag," Garrison said.

Garrison said he collected notarized affidavits from people who said Manley duped them.

He sent them to the District Attorney's office in Moffat County and then to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Garrison spent $600 for copies of reports and court documents he requested from the numerous states. Despite his best efforts, Garrison said his own daughter lost thousands to Manley's guile.

"I get pretty upset when I talk about Mr. Manley," Garrison admits.

His investigation became an obsession to protect anyone else from losing money or property to Manley, Garrison said.

"Yes, I let it get control of me. And I worked it 24 hours a day," Garrison said. "This investigation ruined my health."

For months, Garrison has battled pneumonia and anxiety.

"I hope this deal Monday ends it and I can forget about it."

Garrison is hoping for closure. He also wants to make sure the judge realizes that Manley is a threat to the public.

Judge Paul R. McLimans already postponed Manley's sentencing hearing once, requesting a more complete picture about the defendant's criminal history before proceeding. McLimans has the option to reject the plea agreement that stipulates a six-year sentence for criminal mischief and a two-year sentence for violating bail bond conditions.

Garrison said he doesn't know how to go about addressing the court, but he'd like to say a few words to the judge.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite has been privy to the documents Garrison sent in reference to Manley.

Waite said he didn't know if Garrison would be permitted to speak. But because Garrison's daughter was a victim in Montrose, Waite said, "His voice is one of those I hope the judge would listen to."

"He's done a mountain of work on this thing," Waite said. "He's been tenacious."

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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