Judge refuses to reduce $1 million bond for Rifle police-shooting suspect

A judge Tuesday rejected a request to reduce the $1 million bond in the case of Phillip Amonette, who is accused of shooting a Rifle police officer in his protective vest.

Visiting Judge Paul McLimans’ decision came after Deputy 9th Judicial District Attorney Anne Norrdin said the officer, Garrett Duncan, told her he objected to Amonette’s request. “He said, ‘The man tried to kill me. He should not get a bond reduction,’ ” Norrdin said.

Matt Morriss, a deputy public defender, asked for bond to be reduced to $25,000. He called the $1 million amount “oppressive,” particularly given Amonette’s indigent status. He said Amonette has lived and worked in the area since 1995 and has a previous criminal record involving only misdemeanors. “He gives his word that he will show up for all court dates,” Morriss said.

McLimans said the bond is appropriate, given the “extremely egregious” nature of the allegations.

Amonette faces charges including attempted murder. He is accused of firing on Duncan when he and fellow officer Dewey Ryan responded to a domestic violence call Oct. 22.

Norrdin said the protective vest saved Duncan from being seriously injured or killed.

Ryan fired back, striking Amonette four times, Norrdin said. Amonette remains in a wheelchair, with his right arm in a sling. Morriss also cited those health issues in asking for a lower bond, and he said reducing it enough for Amonette to go free would benefit taxpayers who already have paid tens of thousands of dollars for his health care while in the Garfield County Jail.

However, Norrdin expressed concern that Amonette’s girlfriend told investigators that at the time of the domestic violence incident he said to “go ahead and call the cops, but wait until I get my gun.” The girlfriend reported that he had a history of saying he would never go to jail and had said “they won’t take me alive,” Norrdin said.

Despite previous indications by Morriss that Amonette was eager to resolve the case, the defense and prosecution are “very far apart” in terms of trying to reach a plea bargain, Norrdin said.

Morriss asked Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. It’s scheduled for July 20.


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