Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa not guilty on 3 counts; jury hung on 4 others

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 23:11:48-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa was found not guilty Tuesday afternoon on three counts related to corruption charges, however the jury was hung on four other counts.

Jurors acquitted Maketa of victim tampering, conspiracy to commit victim tampering and official misconduct. Jurors began deliberating Monday after closing arguments in the case.

A conference hearing has been scheduled for July 17 to determine how the case will move forward regarding the four other charges jurors couldn’t agree on.

The former lawman was accused of trying to undermine the credibility of three deputies and threatening to terminate a $5.3 million contract with the jail's health provider if it did not fire an employee who refused to support then-Undersheriff Paula Presley's candidacy to succeed him.

Prosecutors also said Maketa and others coerced a woman involved in a domestic dispute with a deputy to recant her story so the deputy could keep his job.

Maketa, 52, declined to take the stand in his own defense.

The defense rested its case late Monday morning after calling its sixth witness — about a quarter of the roughly two dozen called by the prosecution.

Maketa was charged with nine counts alleging that he abused his power during his turbulent third term in office.

Prosecutors argued that he wanted to damage political rivals and destroy the careers of deputies and others who had crossed him

Two sheriff's employees testified Monday that internal affairs investigations into alleged victims in the case had no undue influence by Maketa. That contradicted claims by prosecutors, who called the probes politically motivated.

Prosecutors argued that those investigations were ordered to target known supporters of then-sheriff's candidate, and current sheriff, Bill Elder.