Suspect refuses to attend trial

Man who attempted suicide accused of sex assault on 4-year-old

A Park Ranger with the Colorado National Monument checks out the van of Daniel Lyons on Jan. 22, 2009.

A judge on Monday morning ordered Mesa County sheriff’s deputies to take a man from his jail cell to the courthouse — by force if necessary — after the man reportedly refused to attend his trial.

Daniel John Lyons, 35, of Clifton, wasn’t present early Monday in District Judge Brian Flynn’s courtroom for jury selection in his sexual assault trial.

Flynn told attorneys that jail deputies had told him Lyons refused to come out of his cell, after he was told he could bring his Bible with him, but couldn’t bring other items with him.

The disputed items in question were not specified.

“Apparently, that wasn’t satisfactory to (Lyons),” Flynn said.

Flynn then ordered the Sheriff’s Department to physically remove Lyons from his cell and escort him to the courtroom. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said when told about the court order, Lyons complied and voluntarily went to court late Monday morning.

Lyons is charged with sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child as a pattern of abuse, among other counts, for allegedly repeatedly assaulting a 4-year-old girl.

Hours after he was interviewed by investigators in January, Lyons attempted to drive his van off Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument. The van tumbled part of the way down Red Canyon, but became stuck on a rock ledge about 170 feet above the canyon floor.

Lyons’ trial is scheduled over four days.


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