Ex-Grand Junction cop dead in apparent suicide
Officer had faced sex-assault allegation
A “stressed” Glenn Coyne on Saturday had little to say but was eager to defend himself against sexual assault allegations that ended his 10-year career in law enforcement, according to a Montrose bail bondsman.
“He said he had a good attorney in Florida, and was just ready to go to work on it,” said Dean Hergenrader, owner of AA Bail Bonds.
Hergenrader said he gave Coyne a ride home Saturday night after helping the former Grand Junction police officer post a $250,000 bond at the Mesa County Jail.
Two days after being fired following his arrest on sexual assault and burglary allegations, Coyne paid a premium of just over $25,000 on a credit card to get out of jail, according to Hergenrader.
He hadn’t returned the bondsman’s phone calls since.
Coyne, 35, was found dead Tuesday around 1:35 p.m. by staff doing routine housekeeping at the Days Inn hotel, 15059 W. Colfax Ave, in Golden. A preliminary investigation shows Coyne shot himself in the head, according to Jacki Kelley, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
Kelley said the former officer had checked in at the hotel alone Sunday. She declined to answer a host of other questions, many of them related to evidence found in Coyne’s hotel room.
Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said her department retrieved Coyne’s service weapon, badge and other police property on the night of Oct. 1 when they fired him.
Coyne was married with two children; the family has a home on Orchard Mesa.
“This entire incident has been very difficult for everyone involved, and these latest developments only make the situation more tragic,” interim Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said.
Coyne had been scheduled to return to court in Mesa County for formal filing of charges next Tuesday. He was arrested Oct. 1 on suspicion of first-degree burglary and first-degree sexual assault.
Despite Coyne’s death, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said an arrest affidavit in the case will remain sealed for the near future.
“I don’t intend to unseal it until this investigation is complete,” Hautzinger said.
The criminal case will be dismissed when his office receives Coyne’s death certificate, he said.
The allegations surrounding Coyne have been described in the most detail by Camper: Coyne was among a group of officers who were called the evening of Sept. 27 to assist a woman in a matter involving her 16-year-old son. The alleged victim called Coyne the next day and asked for more assistance. After his shift ended after 1 a.m. on Sept. 29, Coyne allegedly went to the woman’s home and sexually assaulted her, Camper said.
Coyne was working under probationary status, which was punishment handed down after an internal investigation found that he had violated department policy during another incident involving a separate woman that Coyne encountered while off duty in December 2008.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case criminally, citing a lack of evidence.
Coyne came to Grand Junction in February 2006 and worked for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. His law enforcement career started in 1999 as a part-time deputy with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department in Florida.
Coyne left the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department in January 2007 for a job with the Grand Junction Police Department.
“My decision to leave the Sheriff’s Department is based on the competitive pay as well as retirement, medical, and dental benefits offered by the City of Grand Junction,” Coyne wrote in his resignation letter. “It was a difficult decision to leave this agency and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work for such an outstanding organization.”
Hergenrader, meanwhile, said he was unaware of Coyne’s death until he was contacted Wednesday by The Daily Sentinel.
Driving from the jail, he said Coyne had asked to be dropped off on a street corner near his Orchard Mesa neighborhood. Coyne didn’t talk about his plans.
“He said, ‘I’ll talk to you next week,’ then got out of the truck,” Hergenrader said.