Delays, frustration mount in trooper shooting case

More than six months after a grand jury handed up indictments, a Mesa County judge today said he needs more time to review transcripts of the grand jury’s work.

District Judge Richard Gurley rescheduled a review hearing, set for this morning, to June 23 in the case of Colorado State Patrol troopers Ivan “Gene” Lawyer and Kirk Firko, both charged in connection with the July 2010 shooting death of 31-year-old Jason Kemp at a Redlands home.

Gurley is reviewing transcripts from the grand jury to rule on a motion lodged by an attorney representing Lawyer, which argues a lack of probable cause for charges against his client.

Indictments were returned Oct. 21. On March 8, Gurley said he was still reviewing the transcripts.

Neither Lawyer or Firko attended this morning’s hearing, but about 10 friends or relatives of Kemp were there.

“It’s just due process,” Ian Olson, who testified to the grand jury, said with a broad smile after a second delay in the case in just over a month.

“I wish it would end so we could get some closure,” Olson said.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said transcripts of the grand jury’s work includes 288 pages, and testimony from seven witnesses.

Lawyer is charged with criminally negligent homicide, second-degree assault, first-degree criminal trespass, illegal discharge of a firearm, prohibited use of a weapon and criminal mischief.

Firko is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal trespass, attempted first-degree criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

According to the indictments, Kemp was shot and killed by Lawyer after he and Firko repeatedly pounded and kicked at the front door at 103 Glade Park Road, Unit B. The grand jury alleged the troopers attempted unlawful entry to the home toward apprehending Kemp, who was the suspected driver of a vehicle involved in a minor traffic accident.

Lawyer and Firko remain on unpaid administrative leave from the State Patrol.



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