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Bond lowered for woman accused of homicide

Defense attorney argues initial $1 million cash-only bail ‘unconstitutional’

Bail has been lowered for a woman accused of a homicide in Montezuma County this month, after her attorney argued that the initial amount was “unconstitutional.”

Debra Gaylyn Riddle, 56, was charged by the Montezuma County District Attorney’s Office with second-degree murder after her common-law husband, David Mooney, was found dead in his home west of Mancos on July 4. According to court documents, the 60-year-old man had been shot in the head.

At a hearing last week, Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence set Riddle’s bail at $1 million cash.

On Friday, the case went to district court for a return filing of charges. Riddle’s defense attorney argued that the bail was “unattainable” and a violation of her right to equal protection under state law.

She added that Riddle is presumed innocent and the court should consider her circumstances because she is unemployed and has no way to come up with the cash.

In turn, prosecutor Matthew Margeson, deputy district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, requested that the bond remain at $1 million. He argued that Riddle’s criminal history and claims that she tampered with evidence in the case warrant the bond.

He added that the defense was essentially arguing that no amount of bond was able to be posted by Riddle; therefore, any bond was inappropriate.

“That is not the standard under the law of Colorado,” Margeson said.

District Judge Todd Plewe, however, agreed with the defense, saying he couldn’t recall a case involving a $1 million cash bond in the judicial district.

Plewe reset bail at a $500,000 cash surety, so a bond company could put up the money in exchange for a fee.

Plewe said the arrangement was consistent with other bonds he’s seen set for second-degree murder cases in the 22nd Judicial District.

Plewe denied the defense’s motion for a pretrial publicity order, however. He said the prosecution had acknowledged its need to comply with codes of professional conduct restricting their ability to speak publicly about the case outside the courtroom, and that there was no need to issue an order beyond that.

Riddle’s next court appearance is set for Aug. 19 for a preliminary hearing.

ealvero @the-journal.com

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