New suspect in 1994 Palisade slaying alleges FBI misconduct
Attorneys for a man charged in the 1994 slaying of a Palisade woman have alleged he was contacted improperly by FBI agents, among other law enforcement officers, last week at the Mesa County Jail and outside the presence of a lawyer, according to court filings.
Through his attorneys, Douglas Thames Jr., 39, is seeking through subpoenas records of all signing in and out of the jail on May 10, when the alleged meeting happened, as well as internal jail surveillance video tracking Thames’ movements that day.
Garth McCarty, Thames’ court-appointed attorney, told visiting Judge Thomas Ossola law enforcement reportedly collected evidence from Thames during the alleged visit. McCarty did not indicate whether a DNA sample was at issue.
The motions, which seek a court order preserving evidence of the alleged jail meeting, were filed this week by Colorado State Public Defenders Steve Colvin and Betsy Atkinson. Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle told Ossola on Wednesday he’s seen no evidence to suggest the claims of the visit are legitimate.
Tuttle said he’ll file a formal response next week.
“There’s no truth to the allegation,” Denver FBI spokesman Dave Joly said Wednesday.
With the father of 19-year-old slaying victim Jacie Taylor looking on, Thames was formally charged Wednesday with first-degree murder after deliberation, felony murder and first-degree sexual assault.
Tuttle told the judge his office will start handing over to the defense discovery in the case, which Tuttle said is expected to include more than 10,000 pages.
Thames is serving life in prison without parole for the 1989 rape and murder of Fort Collins resident Susan Doll. He was arrested in Mesa County in 1995.
Taylor, 19, was discovered dead June 4, 1994, in the bathtub of her Palisade apartment, choked with a dog leash and several fingernails ripped away from a struggle.
Thames’ DNA matched a semen stain on a blanket found in Taylor’s apartment, as well as material scraped from under Taylor’s fingernails, the leash used to strangle her and bars of soap at the scene, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Investigators learned that Thames in June 1994 lived at an apartment several doors down from Taylor, but wasn’t contacted in the original investigation, the affidavit said.