Arson suspect's trial pushed back

The man accused of setting the Roatcap fire near Dolores in October waived his right to a speedy trial on Friday morning in District Court.

Roger Stratton, 53, was originally scheduled to stand trial on June 3, but District Court Judge Todd Plewe rescheduled the date after the defense requested a motions hearing in about two months.

Amy Smith, Stratton's public defender, had filed a motion to continue the hearing where motions will be heard.

She said that when she filed the motion a lot of things were happening in the office which resulted in resources being dedicated to those instances.

Smith, speaking via telephone, added that the situation has improved before telling Plewe she would like to have 30 days to file the motion and two months for the hearing to be held.

Plewe scheduled a motions hearing for May 17 with all motions to be filed with the court 20 days prior to that date to be followed by a readiness trial on July 18.

The seven-day jury trial is scheduled for Aug. 19, which Plewe said he intends to keep.

Stratton is charged with fourth-degree arson, a felony, and two misdemeanors.

The Montezuma County Sheriff's Office said at a community meeting on Oct. 25 that the fire was not set intentionally, but was done carelessly and that put authorities and residents in danger.

The fire, which started near County Roads 29 and P, burned more than 400 acres and forced the evacuation of around 30 homes and the cost of the fire is between $200,000 and $250,000.