Cañon City councilman, friend sentenced
Updated On: Mar 25 2014 04:28:48 PM CDT
A Cañon City councilman avoided jail time and a fine when he received his sentence Wednesday for harassing an elderly couple last spring.
Michael "Colby" Katchmar, 55, must serve two years of probation and 300 hours of community service. He also must write a court-approved letter of apology to his victims and enroll in and complete an anger management course.
Last December, a jury convicted Katchmar of assaulting Robert Martin, 71, and Margene Martin, 66, during a wine-tasting event at a downtown restaurant last May that developed into an argument and a fight on the street.
Margene Martin suffered a broken hip while her husband had facial injuries. The couple spoke publicly about the case for the first time.
"We're in agreement with... the sentencing," she said. "We've been through a lot of pain, and it'll just be good when this is over."
After Katchmar's sentencing, his friend, artist Thomas Lockhart, 60, received a similar sentence. Lockhart avoided a trial by previously pleading guilty to assault in the case.
Katchmar declined comment after the sentencing but during the sentencing hearing apologized for his behavior in the incident, and said he has stopped drinking.
"I'm sorry this ever happened," he said. "I've come through this a changed person."
Lockhart also declined comment but his attorney, Allen Gasper, spoke on his client's behalf.
"It's the right outcome," Gasper said. "People will have different opinions about whether the sentence is strong enough. Tom has no criminal background. He's OK."
The case was prosecuted by the Pueblo County District Attorney's Office to avoid any conflict of interest by Katchmar as a city councilman. Prosecutor Jennifer Zamarripa told Judge David Thorson during Wednesday's sentencing hearing that she had no recommendation for Katchmar's punishment and that Thorson was the most qualified person "to determine the most appropriate sentence."
Thorson said the police report didn't match the evidence in the case, and that Katchmar's actions didn't warrant jail time or a fine.
"You were found not guilty of assault and disorderly conduct," Thorson told Katchmar. "But not guilty doesn't mean innocent. Your behavior set into motion a whole chain of events. The participants in this case were far more intoxicated than they were willing to admit. Alcohol played a large role in what happened. You exercised poor judgment. I hold you primarily responsible."
Thorson said Katchmar's council status, clean criminal record and standing in the community were factors in his sentence.
During the hearing, Margene Martin told Thorson that she and her husband "were set up for a beating," by Katchmar. She also accused Katchmar of lying during trial testimony.
"How could a single question about mosquitoes turn a social gathering into an assault?" Margene Martin asked.
However, Katchmar's attorney, Roger Bruce Larsen, reminded Thorson that Katchmar was not convicted of the assault that caused the Martins' injuries.
"Margene Martin's dispute was with Lockhart, not Katchmar," Larsen said. "My client has suffered enough. His business has been vandalized and he's been accused of attacking old ladies."
Katchmar has remained on the city council and has had support from fellow council members.
Thorson said he'll decide within three months whether Katchmar should pay restitution to the Martins. Katchmar also must continue obeying a protection order to stay away from the Martins through the probation period.
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