Judge rules probable cause in monoxide deaths

ASPEN — A district judge in Aspen has decided there is probable cause for felony negligent-homicide charges against a subcontractor and former building inspector in connection with the carbon-monoxide poisoning deaths of a Denver family of four in 2008.

District Court Judge James Boyd ruled there is probable cause to proceed with a pretrial hearing beginning Nov. 28 against Marlin Brown, 57, and Erik Peltonen, 69, Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said today.

A Pitkin County grand jury indicted Brown and Peltonen and they have entered pleas of not guilty.

Details of the case have been kept under seal in court records. Attorneys for the two men did not return phone calls today seeking reaction.

The charges were a result of the fatalities of Caroline Lofgren, her husband, Parker, and their two children, Owen and Sophie.

Investigators said a disconnected exhaust pipe leaked the odorless gas into the house.

Brown, the Glenwood Springs owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing & Heating, and Peltonen, a now-retired building inspector, are charged with felony counts of criminally negligent homicide and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment. Both were arrested and released on $11,000 personal recognizance bonds.

Authorities did not find a carbon monoxide detector in the home.

The deaths of the Lofgren family, along with the deaths of two others in the winters of 2008 and 2009, prompted state lawmakers to pass a bill in 2009 requiring new homes and apartment buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms when they’re sold. It was signed into law by former Gov. Bill Ritter.

Homeowners and apartment owners also have to install detectors if they complete any major renovations or additions.


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