DA cites conflict in judge-threat case
A special prosecutor has been appointed in the case of a Grand Junction man accused of threatening to kill a Mesa County judge.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson on Wednesday sat in on a hearing in the case of 24-year-old Justin Townsel, who was arrested April 16 on allegations he threatened Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn. In a motion requesting a special prosecutor, Mesa County Deputy District Attorney Todd Hildebrandt noted his office has daily appearances in Flynn’s courtroom.
“Based on those appearances, it has been decided it would be more appropriate for this case to be prosecuted by another district attorney’s office,” Hildebrandt wrote in the motion.
Beeson on Wednesday asked visiting District Judge Thomas Ossola to extend a protection order in the case. Beeson asked Townsel be ordered to stay at least 100 feet away from Flynn, and his staff, at all times. Townsel had earlier been ordered to stay 50 feet away from the judge.
Flynn, who was in the public gallery Wednesday, had lodged the request for an expanded protection order, Beeson said.
Ossola approved the expanded protection order.
Townsel was arrested after he allegedly told Grand Junction police officers he had two AR-15 assault rifles and had been told by God to kill Flynn. Townsel allegedly also told authorities he planned on buying the guns at Cabela’s and shooting the judge on April 17.
Townsel’s wife was scheduled to be sentenced by Flynn on April 19 in connection with a felony case.