Jury trials for three of the four Buena Vista Correctional Complex inmates charged with first degree murder in the July 14, 2018, death of fellow inmate Matthew Massaro, will be rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Week-long trials were scheduled for Brett Boyles and Chad Merrill during the second and fourth weeks of January, respectively, and a three day trial was scheduled for the second week of February for Gary Labor.
Eleventh Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Murphy had suspended jury trials until Jan. 15, due to the prevalence of the virus under a previous order dated Nov. 9.
That order was amended Dec. 11, extending the suspension by four weeks.
A press release stated all four counties in the District are now at level orange on the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Incident rates are higher than when the order was originally issued in November.
Currently, the two-week incident rate per 100,000 people is 371.5 in Park County, 1,099.8 in Fremont County, 839.8 in Chaffee County and 1,008.1 in Custer County.
Positivity rates are 9 percent in Park County, 6.7 percent in Fremont County, 5.8 percent in Chaffee County and 18.7 percent in Custer County.
Statewide, the two week incident rate per 100,000 people was 78.2 and the seven-day positivity rate stood at 7.76 as of Sunday.
“There is also consensus among public health experts that there is likely to be a spike in these numbers due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. While a vaccine is close to being approved and distributed, mass distribution of the vaccine will not occur until the spring or early summer,” the release stated.
Under the amendment, no juries will be called for any trials prior to Feb. 16, and no jury trials will occur prior to Feb. 16.