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Cañon City councilman to face no action after harassment conviction

Published On: Dec 20 2013 09:31:04 PM CST

Colby Katchmar was convicted of harassing an elderly couple but likely is not in danger of losing his council seat.


Residents are wondering whether a city councilman recently convicted of harassing a couple may lose his seat, but another council member says that's unlikely.

Dennis Wied said that Colby Katchmar, 54, remains in good standing on the council after a jury returned its guilty verdict this week.

"I don't expect any repercussions of any sort with Colby," said Wied.  "As a matter of fact, I think we'll all congratulate him and just tell him we're glad that this is behind (him)."

Wied believes many people owe Katchmar an apology for judging him harshly after the May 30 fight that left Robert and Margene Martin, ages 70 and 65, injured.  The fight started as an argument during a downtown wine-tasting event and escalated outside.

"I think there's clear evidence that there was more going on than was presented at trial -- or certainly that the public is aware of," he said, alluding to video from a surveillance camera at the event showing a confrontation between Katchmar and the Martins.

During testimony, Katchmar said the video shows Mr. Martin hitting him.  Katchmar said he already was upset that Mrs. Martin denigrated a business owned by Katchmar's wife after a conversation about a mosquito problem in town.

Katchmar also said during testimony that Mr. Martin taunted him before the fight, calling him a "baby," but Katchmar admitted to being "buzzed" by alcohol he'd drank earlier.

"I would actually hope that the district attorney would go back and review the video evidence and consider filing charges against (the Martins)," said Wied. 

A KRDO NewsChannel 13 crew went to the Martins' home seeking comment but they declined.  The crew also spoke briefly with Katchmar who also declined an interview.

Reaction among the townspeople was mixed.

"I think they let him slide," said Abe Sanchez.  "I think it helps to have friends in the police department who lose the statement he made."

Sanchez he wasn't sure if Katchmar should continue to serve on the council.

"We trust our leaders," said Dodie Rowe.  "Part of that trust, in my opinion, is integrity that is above and beyond the normal everyday behavior.  If I've had a drink or two, then I need to be aware and walk away (from a confrontation) quickly."

Gary Foster said Katchmar should no longer be a councilman.

"I don't think he should be on the council if he can't control his temper," Foster said.

Shirley Vaniwarden was more sympathetic.

"I think people jump to conclusions in this town," she said.  "I think we need to admire these councilmen who will even (serve).  Pretty soon we won't have people (running) for offices.  Did (Katchmar) say some things he shouldn't have?  Probably. (But) I think (the Martins) were equally responsible."

The jury acquitted Katchmar of third-degree felony assault against an at-risk adult over the age of 60, and of disorderly conduct.

"He'll be up for re-election in two years," said Wied.  "People can decide then if he should be on the council."

Thomas Lockhart, 60, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the case.  He and Katchmar will be sentenced in March.


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