No deal for dog killer in drug case

Steven Romero

District Judge Brian Flynn refused a request Wednesday for extending plea deal talks in a drug case against a man who admitted last week to killing a dog.

Laura Koenig, a public defender for 38-year-old Steven Clay Romero, asked the judge for more time to work out a possible agreement. Koenig said counterparts with the District Attorney’s Office had expressed interest in striking a deal to resolve the felony case in Mesa County.

The deadline for a plea agreement in Romero’s case was Dec. 4, 2009.

“I haven’t heard good cause for extending the deadline,” Flynn said in denying the request.

The judge, however, said he would consider accepting a plea — without the benefit of an agreement — to a charge before Romero’s two-day trial slated to start July 29.

Romero has pleaded not guilty to a host of charges, including a special-offender count, related to his arrest in September 2009 at a local hotel. An arrest affidavit alleges Romero was found in possession of methamphetamine and a sawed-off shotgun, according to an arrest affidavit.

If convicted on all charges, Romero would face a maximum possible sentence of 57 years in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Chris Nerbonne.

Romero faces up to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Denver to aggravated animal cruelty related to the Dec. 30 dragging death of Buddy the dog on Colorado National Monument. He’s scheduled for sentencing July 30 in Denver.


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