Plea deal rejected in Botanical Gardens vandalism
District Judge Richard Gurley on Wednesday rejected a plea agreement for a man suspected of causing thousands of dollars of damage at Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, saying he had doubts the man would comply with probation.
Bradley Dodd, 30, a transient whose arrest history stretches across six states, had intended to plead guilty to felony criminal mischief in an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, which called for probation or a sentence to Mesa County Community Corrections.
Gurley, however, expressed doubt over the deal after Community Corrections rejected Dodd as a potential client.
In refusing to accept Dodd, Community Corrections officials who completed an evaluation concluded Dodd posed low risk to the community, but still recommended substance abuse treatment for him, Deputy District Attorney Todd Hildebrandt said.
Dodd’s record includes a 2002 felony conviction in Boulder for aggravated motor vehicle theft and at least 27 misdemeanor arrests or convictions since 2000 in Colorado, California, Florida, Oregon, Alabama and Arizona, Hildebrandt said.
His attorney said Dodd was a nationwide follower of the rock band Grateful Dead in his youth and continued a transient lifestyle through his arrest on June 14, along with 20-year-old college student Benjamin Levanduski, in a vandalism spree that temporarily closed the Botanical Gardens’ castle structure at 655 Struthers Ave. The castle is rented out for children’s birthday parties and other events.
Doors were kicked in at the facility and art supplies were smeared over walls, drapes and floors. Someone had defecated near the structure.
Dana Hobika, Botanical Gardens’ executive director, told the judge Wednesday that probation wasn’t a harsh enough penalty.
“In a few hours of destruction, we lost a month and three days of business,” Hobika said.
Dodd’s case was ordered back before Gurley on Nov. 4.
Levanduski was sentenced in August to probation after pleading guilty to criminal mischief and theft. He also agreed to pay the full sum of restitution requested by Botanical Gardens, $3,825.
Hobika said they’re still waiting to see those dollars, which won’t account for their full loss.
“We can talk about building materials, nails and windows, but how many children came and got turned away from the castle?” she asked. “And there’s the perpetuation of the south side transient problems, when we’re talking about one of the prettiest parts of town. How do you put a price tag on that?”