No 3rd trial for man in attempted murder

A Palisade man convicted twice of attempted murder won’t get a third trial.

A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Thursday that a second trial for James A. Duran, 48, was conducted properly in 2008, and his 64-year sentence won’t be overturned.

Initially, Duran was convicted in 2005 for the 2003 shooting of his friend Brad Hatch and leaving him on railroad tracks, where he was hit and dragged by a mile-long train. Hatch suffered broken bones but survived to testify against Duran.

Duran’s initial conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeals in 2007 because of prosecutorial misconduct, but a new trial resulted in the same conviction for attempted second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

At the time, his defense attorneys said the first conviction was overturned partly because jury notebooks were wrong, and inflammatory opinions were levied by police against Duran’s character.

“On remand, the people asked the trial court to increase defendant’s bond, based in part on a report by his ex-wife that while awaiting sentencing after his first trial, defendant wanted the prosecuting attorney’s children kidnapped and killed, and attempted to make arrangements to carry it out,” Appellate Judge Gilbert Roman wrote in the opinion, which was joined by Judges Arthur Roy and Laurie Booras. “Citing the alleged threat, defendant moved to disqualify the entire Mesa County District Attorney’s office. The trial court denied the motion.”

In his second appeal, Duran tried to argue the court erred when it refused to disqualify prosecutors, refused to continue the trial, admitted certain testimony from an expert witness and tried him as a habitual offender.

“We considered and rejected each assertion,” the court wrote.


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