Security tight at trial for shooting |

Security tight at trial for shooting

Amy Hamilton
By AMY HAMILTON Daily Press Writer One hundred eighty jurors -- a record f or Moffat County -- have been called for potential service in the murder trial of Hugo Silva-Larios. Silva-Larios is accused of shooting Craig resident James Pogline, 32, in October. Pogline died from a gunshot wound to his head. Usually, about 90 potential jurors would be called for a Moffat County trial, Moffat County court clerks said. About 65 jurors showed up for the first session of jury selection Monday morning. Another round of jurors was scheduled Monday afternoon. When asked by Moffat Coun-ty District Judge Michael O'Hara to raise their hands if they hadn't heard of or read about incidents involving the shooting, not one of a pool of 30 potential jurors raised his or her hand. "I know that this case has received some media attention," O'Hara said. "In most trials it's unlikely that anybody has heard anything about the case. This case is different." O'Hara said that he was aware that many of the potential jurors will know about the case and probably, each other. However, O'Hara said that both sides are seeking jurors who could be fair and unbiased. Potential juror Charlie Cor-dova said he didn't know what he was showing up for when he arrived for jury duty Monday. Cordova, who lives near the Colorado-Wyoming border, said he hadn't heard any talk of the case. Cordova said that as a self-employed rancher, he could take two weeks off work if picked as a juror. "I don't know if I'll get picked," he said. "I don't know nothing about it. I'm sur-prised at the amount of people." Amy Hamilton can be reached at 824-7031.

Two metal detectors worked nonstop Monday morning at the Moffat County Courthouse as jury selection got under way in the murder trial of Hugo Silva-Larios.

Silva-Larios, a 17-year-old Mexican national, is accused in the shooting death of 32-year-old James Pogline. The heightened security — law enforcement officials said security has never been this tight — was a relief for potential jurors and courthouse employees.

“I think it does make it safer,” said Terresa White, one of the 180 potential jurors in the case, while being scanned.

Besides the scanner, security Monday included three Moffat County sheriff’s deputies outside the courtroom and two deputies inside the court’s district chambers. Law enforcement officials said there would be at least one deputy outside the courtroom and two inside for the remainder of the trial.

Moffat County court officials often have requested full-time, additional security at the courthouse. But Moffat County commissioners have argued there is reasonable security at the courthouse and that there is not enough funding to hire additional security personnel.

Thus, there is no visible security at the courthouse for most trials and court hearings. In special circumstances, such as the Silva-Larios trial, court officials can request additional security as needed.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said he thinks there is “reasonable security at the courthouse” and that commissioners are willing to solve issues so that there’s not a court order.

“We want to work together,” he said.

Clerk of Court Diana Meyer said she felt a little safer Monday with the temporary installation of two metal detectors. Moffat County Sheriff’s Office has two life-sized metal detectors donated from Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

It would require additional staffing of one full-time person and one half-time person to man the metal detectors permanently, said Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg.

“It doesn’t make a difference to me, but if you took a poll about whether there should be security here, I’ll bet a lot of them would want it,” he said.

Hoberg said that there’s always the potential for violence at the courthouse, but security was called in for the trial because of its high profile status.

“It’s an issue,” he said, about the normal lack of security at the courthouse. “Everybody understands that this could be a potentially bad situation, but (hearings) happen every day. It doesn’t have to be a criminal trial that something bad happens.”

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