In a virtual Setting Conference held at 8:30 am via WebEx on Friday, January 13 former Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy, Quinten Stump with his attorneys, Beau Worthington and Michael Stuysinski as well as the 15th Judicial District Attorney Joshua Vogel called in to the Kiowa County District courtroom to determine a jury trial setting for both pending cases titled The People of the State of Colorado v. Quinten Stump.
The honorable Judge Davidson opened the record in the cases against Stump, beginning first with 2021-CR1 for the charges related to the death of Zach Gifford. Both parties agreed that there would be a need for 4 days of jury selection and 6 days of testimony. Judge Davidson then suggested docket dates in March and April, however the People as well as the defense had other obligations or conflicts for witnesses and/or victim’s representatives through the spring and summer months. After listening to each side go back and forth with dates that would or would not work for their teams the judge stated, “While I understand that there are conflicts this spring and summer, I am not going to set this trial for August.”
When there were no other options, the judge began looking forward to the June and July dockets. More discussion left Judge Davidson to eventually order that jury selection will begin Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2 with questionnaires and then break for the weekend, resuming the selection process on Monday morning, June 5 and the trial would be docketed through Wednesday, June 14. This trial would follow the same procedures for the previous trials scheduled in the matter.
In Stump’s other case 2021-M3 where he has been with charged with drunkenly shooting at a traffic sign with his county-issued gun while on administrative leave pending actions in the Gifford case, the defense team was concerned that setting a new date for the trial may be premature as there will have been close to 1200 people from the Kiowa County jury pool called for the same cases involving Stump. Judge Davidson also expressed his concern with the jury pool stating, “There are just a little more than 1,000 people in the Kiowa County jury pool, through this process 800 have already been called, around 100 people have been brought back for individual and general questioning. The questionnaire at the last jury selection showed that there are already many who have been called twice for this case.”
This led to Judge Davidson asking Stump if he would waive his right to a speedy trial in the M3 case, where they will instead schedule a status conference for 8:30 am on June 14, 2023. Stump affirmed he would waive his right to a speedy trial and the status conference was scheduled in that matter.
Discussion went back to the issue of seating a jury in the CR1 case as a result of the large amount of people who have already been summoned to appear for jury duty in the case. Judge Davidson implied that if one party or the other were to enter a motion to change venue, he would consider it. Davidson went on to say, “This case has been a burden on the citizens of Kiowa County, they have been through a lot already, and it is something to think about.”
Defense attorney Michael Stuysinski asked for clarification on whether the judge would consider the motion to change venue which they had filed previously. Davidson clarified that the previously filed motion was pending on what was seen during jury selection, “So if either party would like to move for a motion to change venue, they should do so within 14 days with the other party having a 7-day window to respond, and I would then make a ruling on that motion.”
Judge Davidson went on to say, “I have not made a decision obviously; I’ve just been reflecting on this, and I think we’ve really asked a lot of the citizens of Kiowa County thus far.”
Stuysinski affirmed, “It does strike me as unlikely that a third try, given our research into whether jurors can be summons more than once in a calendar year would be fruitful, so we will consider the court’s statement and further research the issue and potentially file a venue motion.”
Davidson expressed there are other motions that he needs to rule on in this case, specifically citing a Peoples motion for determination on question of law, concerning the search. Davidson stated that however he rules on those motions, there may need to be a hearing scheduled. However, that will be determined at a later date. Vogel asked Judge Davidson for confirmation that the People are still within the reply timeframe of that motion, and indicated that he will likely be filing a reply.
The people of Kiowa County will now await the news of whether they will once again carry the burden of rendering justice in this case, or if a change of venue will be granted, bestowing another county with another jury pool the dreadful but necessary responsibility. Either way, one last trial, whether in Kiowa County or elsewhere, will hopefully put an end to the 3-year heartache felt by the families, individuals, and the county as a whole that they have endured since that horrible day in April 2021.