A fugitive from Moffat County who skipped his sentencing hearing earlier this month has been arrested in Texas, according to the Houston Police Depart-ment.
Convicted felon Don Manley was arrested at 7:20 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Houston, Texas convenience store. Officers were on the lookout for the suspect since he was thought to be in the area, said Joe Laud, a public information officer with the Houston Police Department.
Manley was scheduled to appear in court in Moffat County Sept. 16 to be sentenced for criminal mischief in excess of $15,000 after he allegedly ransacked his former girlfriend’s house. He disappeared Aug. 12 after he was let out of jail on a personal recognizance bond as part of a plea agreement that included a six-year prison sentence. The District Attorney’s office in Moffat County originally sought to charge Manley as a habitual criminal in four counts, citing felony convictions in Florida, Oregon and Texas.
In fact, Manley was convicted in the 1980s of burglary of a building and theft of an automobile in Harris County, Texas — the same county where he was arrested Sunday.
After missing his Moffat County court date, Manley failed to appear in Montrose Sept. 17, where he was set to be sentenced on a felony he pleaded guilty to there.
Manley skipped both hearings and has since been on the run.
According to Texas police, a patrol officer saw a man matching Manley’s description in the parking lot of a convenience store. The officer pulled up to the man and asked him to identify himself. After Manley gave his name, police arrested him. He is not currently charged with any crimes in Texas but police are holding him because he is a fugitive from Colorado.
When Manley failed to appear for sentencing, Judge Michael O’Hara revoked his bond and issued a warrant for his arrest, setting the bond at $100,000. Manley is wanted on another Moffat County warrant with a bond of $20,000, and a Montrose County warrant that carries a $75,000 bond.
Moffat and Montrose counties have agreed to split the cost of transporting Manley to Colorado, according to Lt. Dean Herndon, the Moffat County Jail administrator.
Herndon said unfortunately Texas is a costly state from which to extradite criminals. In most western states, Herndon can arrange transportation for extradition using a cooperative program called the Northwest Shuttle. It hooks up to Transports Across Colorado, set up by sheriffs across the state to transport inmates.
“We haven’t had any luck with Texas and the eastern states,” Herndon said.
Most likely, Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead will travel to Texas to pick up Manley. Grinstead flew to Texas and Florida earlier this year to retrieve prisoners.
Herndon said the sheriff does this to save money by not paying deputies overtime to make the trip.
But Manley’s extradition could be complicated if he chooses to fight it. In that case, Moffat County would have to apply for a Governor’s Warrant, which guarantees the identity of a fugitive but usually takes 30 days to secure. If Manley chooses not to fight his extradition, Moffat County has 10 days to pick him up. Texas authorities have no charges to hold Manley on except his fugitive warrant from Colorado.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com
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