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‘They aren’t doing their jobs,’ murder victim’s family fears DA violations will free suspect

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Southern Colorado family fears the man accused of murdering their loved one will be released from jail because the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office hasn't handed over all of the evidence in the case.

Wednesday, Joseph Tippet, the man accused of shooting his dad, William Tippet, twice in the back of the head, was in court. Tippet's attorney told the judge they have received "one-tenth" of the evidence in the case from the DA's office. In preparing for a preliminary hearing, his attorney said the DA's office, led by Linda Stanley, are operating in either "bad faith" or "incompetence" ever since this case was charged.

Magistrate Judge Michael Meyrick scolded the 11th Judicial DA's Office over its continued evidence woes. It prompted a prosecutor to admit in court that "there is a basis to be upset" with their conduct in this murder case.

Despite mounting public pressure regarding her conduct, District Stanley was nowhere to be found in the courtroom or virtually. Additionally, she has repeatedly ignored multiple requests for comment from 13 Investigates.

William's ex-wife Penny Mills, his daughter Emily, and family member Scott Wilson told 13 Investigates they're worried that the person accused of murder could be able to bond out of jail as early as next week.

"Across the board, I think that our citizens need to be paying attention to what's going on," Wilson said. "This is something that's super local and it's something that can affect us just in general, you know, being on the streets, going to the park, anything like that, it can affect you."

Judge Meyrick set another hearing date for March 29. At that date, if the DA's office does not turn over all evidence to the defense, he will set a "sanctions hearing," which could result in the PR bond, fewer charges, or an outright dismissal of the case.

"The D.A. of the 11th Judicial District needs to be charged for what she's done. There's been 33 cases in which she's just let go. The amount of people and the amount of danger that she has put across our community, there needs to be repercussions and repercussions for anybody else that helped her do so," Wilson said.

Wilson is referring to prior reporting by 13 Investigates which outlined 33 cases since Stanley took office where there have been discovery violations in the case. Some of these cases, including multiple sex assault on children cases, have been dismissed altogether.

"Maybe if it was their family getting hurt, they might actually do their jobs," Mills said. "It's just a lack of caring."

"When it comes down to our district attorney and anybody that handles the paperwork side of things or that is actually supposed to get them convicted, I don't have a lot of respect for them," Wilson said.

Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper told 13 Investigates the DA's office has been handed every piece of evidence from the Tippet case except one supplemental report from January 19. From that point, it is the District Attorney's Office's responsibility to make discovery available to the defense.

The attorneys representing Stanley offered an explanation in court for their repeated failures to abide by the constitutionally protected right for the accused to see evidence in their case.

He said, "I thought we had it but I'll follow up."

Judge Meyrick told the DA's attorneys "you have to do your job."

13 Investigates has reached out to Stanley four times for comment and has yet to hear back.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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