Judge orders $100K bond in neighbor feud
A 74-year-old man was ordered jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond —unusually high in a case with misdemeanor charges—following an arrest in an alleged one-man “reign of terror” in a Grand Junction neighborhood.
Earl Stults, 300 McFarland Court, was advised Wednesday by County Court Judge Craig Henderson on possible misdemeanor charges of harassment and disorderly conduct following his arrest on Tuesday by the Grand Junction Police Department, which related to a neighborhood confrontation that included threats and insults on March 28.
The District Attorney’s Office plans to charge Stults with felony violation of bail-bond conditions, prosecutor Brian Fuselier said. A conviction carries a mandatory 12-month prison sentence for Stults, who appeared during a hearing seated in a wheelchair.
Henderson, in justifying the $100,000 bond, said Stults’ situation with his neighbors was “spiralling out of control.”
“It’s very clear to the court if he’s not put in jail, we could have possibly worse outcomes,” the judge said.
Dan Scott, a neighbor who lives several doors down from Stults, told police that Stults on March 28 drove by his home and yelled repeated insults while warning, “If you ever come on my side of the street again, it’ll be the last time,” according to an arrest affidavit. Stults allegedly spewed more vulgarities during the encounter, the affidavit said.
Scott is a witness in a pending prosecution against Stults, and, a protected party in a restraining order.
Stults has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in July on charges of stalking and harassment. In that case, Stults was accused of mounting six surveillance cameras, one of them tucked away in a bird feeder, which were peeking into a neighbor’s house.
The cameras, which had night-vision technology, were removed after Stults’ arrest in February 2013. The arrest happened just four months after Stults was released from the Mesa County Jail, and after he’d served eight months in jail upon pleading guilty to felony stalking and violation of a protection order. The charges related to a 2011 case, the same neighbors and similar surveillance claims.
One neighbor in the 2011 case said Stults claimed to be a “big game hunter” with high-powered rifles, capable of killing at “ridiculous distances like 5,000 feet,” an arrest affidavit said.
Scott told the judge Wednesday he feels unsafe in his own neighborhood, while describing recent years as Stults’ “reign of terror.”
“When they (Grand Junction Police Department) came to arrest him, they were in full SWAT gear, helmets and bulletproof vests,” Scott said.
Thea Reiff, Stults’ public defender, told the judge insults have been traded “back and forth” between Stults and neighbors for some time now. She said Stults’ video surveillance stemmed from him and his wife being victims of a burglary in Arizona.
“That’s why they moved to Grand Junction,” she said.