Sides seek meteor experts in fraud trial
A trial was delayed Monday for a Montrose man accused of selling bogus meteorites at a Grand Junction store last fall.
Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson granted a defense request for a continuance in the case against 59-year-old Steven Curry, who had been scheduled for a one-day trial Thursday on misdemeanor charges of theft, fraud in effecting sales and criminal simulation.
Henderson said the delay was warranted because prosecutors only last Thursday announced plans to endorse Delta resident Blaine Reed as an expert witness in the case, allowing to express opinions to the jury.
Reed is also the named victim in the case.
Joshua Stritecky, Curry’s attorney, said he needed extra time to find his own meteorite expert. Stritecky said the disputed materials should be shipped for independent testing by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory, if Reed is allowed to give expert testimony to the jury.
“I don’t know if they have a meteor division,” the judge replied, laughing, in reference to the CBI.
Neither Curry nor Reed attended a pretrial conference Monday.
Curry was cited in January after a Grand Junction Police Department investigation focusing on more than $500 worth of Curry’s rocks, which were being sold at Main Street Minerals and Beads, 524 Main St. Reed filed the initial complaint with police.
Stritecky on Monday told the judge Reed is a known meteorite dealer and potential competitor of Curry’s.
Reed earlier this year filed a complaint about Curry’s meteorites with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, seeking action by the agency under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Reed told state investigators Curry offered mineral samples for sale on a consignment basis at Main Street Minerals and Beads. Although the items were labeled and had certificate of authenticity claiming to be a type of metallic meteorite, testing showed they were made of man-made carbon steel, Reed alleged.
The Attorney General’s Office in April filed a civil action in Denver District Court, seeking an order for Curry to desist in labeling the items as meteorites.
Curry is now scheduled for trial Oct. 18.