Jury convicts former Montrose DA Serra in bond violation case
MONTROSE — A Montrose jury Wednesday evening convicted former 7th Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra on all charges related to a bail-bond violation.
Serra was convicted on three counts — felony violation of bail-bond conditions and misdemeanor harassment and violation of a protection order — stemming from a Dec. 5 confrontation with an alleged victim and potential witness against him in a criminal case in which Serra is accused of sexual misconduct.
He will not face sentencing until after the outcome of his second trial, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 31.
The jury returned at 6:28 p.m. Wednesday, following nearly three hours of deliberation.
First Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro hugged teary-eyed members of the audience after the verdict reading. Many were former employees of Serra at the DA’s office.
Shapiro asked for a modified bond for Serra, including new protection orders for victims and potential witnesses, saying Serra is “a credible danger to those victims.” Judge David Bottger denied the request.
Serra had no comment as he left the courthouse.
Earlier Wednesday, a clean-shaven Serra, who usually has facial hair, testified he was falsely accused of intimidating the former employee of his at the DA’s office.
Serra was under a court order, issued Nov. 3, 2010, to have no contact with the woman, who was involved in an investigation that resulted in the filing of charges against Serra, including felony and misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact, three counts of indecent exposure and official misconduct.
Serra testified he went to Bealls Department Store, 2201 S. Townsend Ave., on Dec. 5 after becoming angry about the Denver Broncos losing their National Football League game to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The woman testified Tuesday that Serra approached a clothes rack behind which she was hiding and stared at her in a way she interpreted as an effort to intimidate her. According to the woman, Serra stared at her and then smirked.
Serra on Wednesday said he and his 9-year-old son were shopping for Christmas gifts, and he did not know the woman was in the store. Upon entering the store, Serra said his attention was drawn to a clothing rack were he said he saw clothing that appeared to be moving.
Serra was allowed to shake a courtroom flag to demonstrate what he saw.
He said when he realized there was a person shaking the clothing, and that person was a woman whom he was prohibited from contacting, he turned around and briskly walked away.
“I saw a woman bent over, faced away from me, rattling the shirts,” Serra said. “My best protection for me and her was to go as far away as I could in the back of the store.”
Shapiro asked Serra during cross examination if he knew the victim was a potential witness in a case against him, and any contact was a violation of the bond conditions.
Serra said he did not know if the woman would be a possible witness, and he said the woman exaggerated the events of a chance encounter in public.
“I left the area immediately. I did not say anything to that person. I did not want any contact with that person,” Serra said.
In closing, Shapiro said Serra being four-feet away from the victim sent a clear message.