Craig man convicted of violating bond, protection order

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Tyrell Kochenower

A Craig man who threatened an ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced in Moffat County District Court.

Tyrell Kochenower, 31, was charged with two counts of stalking and one count of intimidating a witness or victim, all Class 4 felonies.

He was also charged with violating bail bond conditions, a Class 6 felony, and violating a protection order and harassment, both misdemeanors.

In a plea agreement with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Kochenower pleaded guilty to an amended misdemeanor count of violating bail bond conditions, and violating a protection order.

He appeared in front of Michael O’Hara, chief judge of the 14th Judicial District, and was represented by public defender Emily Wickham.

Charges against Kochenower were filed in August 2010.

Deputy district attorney Marguerite Carr asked for the maximum sentence under terms of the plea agreement — 18 months.

She said the sentence could run concurrently with any sentence Kochenower receives in Weld County, where he was convicted of reckless vehicular homicide, a Class 4 felony, but has yet to be sentenced.

Carr said the victim in the Moffat County case, who did not attend Tuesday’s hearing, had been consulted on the plea agreement.

“She really would have liked to see a felony in this case, however, she just did not want to have to go through testifying again, since she was one of the main witnesses in the Weld County case,” Carr said. “She wanted this case to be wrapped up and that’s why we offered the plea we did.”

O’Hara sentenced Kochenower to two consecutive six-month sentences in Moffat County Jail, with 220 days of credit for time already served.

The Moffat County case was delayed because of the Weld County case, which stemmed from a 2007 motorcycle crash that killed 21-year-old Bethany Gibson.

Before Kochenower’s plea was entered Tuesday, O’Hara asked about the status of the Weld County case.

Wickham told O’Hara he was convicted of the vehicular homicide charge, but sentencing was postponed pending the outcome of his Moffat County case.

Kochenower addressed O’Hara before sentencing.

“I’ve had seven months to sit there and think about all of this, along with my other case,” he said to the judge. “I would humbly request that you issue me something that is pertinent, but would look out for my future interests also. I’m not coming to you denying anything. What I did was wrong and I did it.”

The victim in the Moffat County case testified against Kochenower last year in the Weld County case, according to court records.

He then stalked the woman at her home following her testimony in Greeley, and later threatened the victim if she didn’t change her testimony.

The victim received threatening text messages and phone calls from Kochenower and his then-girlfriend, according to records.

Although Kochenower wasn’t convicted on the stalking charges, O’Hara told him it’s the type of case the court takes seriously.

“Folks who are not involved in the legal system often think that murder cases are the scariest cases in terms of security, danger and things like that,” he said. “Certainly they are, but these kinds of cases — stalking and domestic violence — carry the most potential for explosive behavior. It’s behavior the court needs to discourage.”

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