The trial of Marlin Brown on charges related to the deaths of a Denver family of four from carbon monoxide poisoning may be slightly longer than that of his co-defendant, Erik Peltonen, the prosecutor of the cases said Thursday.
Brown’s trial, set to begin Nov. 28 and last two weeks, will likely involve more expert testimony, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin. In Thursday’s brief hearing, Judge James Boyd of the 9th Judicial District set Peltonen’s trial for nine days beginning Dec. 12.
Whether Peltonen actually goes on trial depends on Boyd’s ruling on a motion that Brown’s attorney, Colleen Scissors, filed Monday. The motion says the case against Peltonen should be dismissed or else he won’t provide testimony at Brown’s trial that could prove Brown’s innocence, because doing so would incriminate Peltonen. If Peltonen’s charges are not dismissed, Brown’s case should be dropped because he will not be able to get a fair trial without Peltonen’s testimony, Scissors’ motion says.
Both men are charged with four counts each of felony negligent homicide arising from the tragic deaths of Parker Lofgren, 39, wife Caroline, 42, and their children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, in 2008. The defendants allegedly installed and signed off on a faulty boiler for the snowmelting system of a home east of Aspen. The Lofgrens, who had won a stay in the home, died after carbon monoxide leaked from the boiler into the rest of the residence.
Boyd said Thursday that he would set a date to rule on Scissors’ motion during a review hearing Sept. 6. He gave Mordkin until Aug. 12 to file a response, and Scissors will then have until Aug. 26 to file her response.
Boyd also set a motions deadline of Aug. 22 for attorneys in both cases. Peltonen’s Dec. 12 trial date would be just under the wire for his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Both men pleaded not guilty June 13.
Peltonen’s attorney, Abraham Hutt, had in a previous hearing said that three weeks was likely necessary for a trial. But after taking a closer look at the cases, both he and Scissors told Boyd on Thursday that they agreed with Mordkin’s assessment of two weeks or less.
Mordkin, in a filing to have separate trials, said the outcome of Brown’s trial will influence whether he proceeds with trying Peltonen.