- November 15, 2023 at 9:43 am #879595summersgoneParticipant
https://www.ouraynews.com/2023/09/20/man-gets-8-years-for-cop-threats/ 8 years. Dude went off the deep end. He for a short period of time was on the board of our local non profit avalanche program. The director removed him quickly.November 27, 2023 at 12:24 pm #879602TaylorParticipant
So, David Gottorff is still a douche. It’s perfect that Gottorf, like Cliven Bundy, identifies as a “sovereign citizen.” The judge said, “He’s claimed himself to be sovereign, he has no respect for the judicial system.”
Here is the full text, should ever the link die and splitboard.com lives on, the stubborn cyber fossil that it is.
Man gets 8 years for cop threats
By Erin McIntyre firstname.lastname@example.org, on September 20, 2023
Fearing for safety, victims seek max sentence; DA calls Gottorff ‘scourge’ on community
A judge sentenced a Ridgway man to eight years in prison after a jury convicted him of attempting to influence police with threats and following and harassing law enforcement.
David Gottorff, 47, remained blankfaced when District Judge Cory Jackson handed down the sentence Sept. 14.
In sentencing Gottorff to prison, Jackson said he was concerned about the convicted felon’s behavior, his continued belief that he is the victim, and the community’s safety.
A pre-sentence report prepared for the court by Probation Officer Terry McCoige recommended three years of supervised probation for Gottorff. But District Attorney Seth Ryan argued the crimes were too serious, and Gottorff already had a chance to complete probation in another case and refused to do so, which resulted in a jail sentence.
Calling Gottorff a “scourge on the community,” Ryan said he needs to be put away to give relief to those who have been targeted by his behavior for years.
“We believe the evidence shows the defendant is relentless in his pursuit of revenge against the victims he believed has wronged him,” Ryan told the judge. “He is either unwilling or unable to stop his behavior. There is a serious danger not only that his behavior not only will continue, but will escalate.”
Jackson said probation would “unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offenses” in this case. He also said he didn’t think Gottorff had accepted the gravity of his actions.
The judge also said he was concerned that Gottorff sent a complaint to him from the jail the day before the sentencing hearing, demanding the arrest of the district attorney.
Marked “this request is an emergency,” the message claimed Ryan committed official oppression, misconduct and aided and abetted jury tampering in a trial in which Gottorff was acquitted of stalking and criminal mischief charges in a case involving his neighbors last October.
The prison sentence came at the end of a two-hour hearing, in which the judge considered arguments from Gottorff’s attorney and the district attorney, as well as testimony from those involved in the case and from the community.
During the hearing, Ryan presented evidence of Gottorff’s demeanor in the form of emails, messages and calls from the Montrose County Jail. He has been an inmate there since his July conviction, as the judge ruled he would be taken into custody immediately after the verdict due to public safety concerns.
He is also serving a 90-day sentence for a probation violation in a previous misdemeanor case and a 30-day sentence for contempt in a civil case.
These communications from Gottorff at the jail, relayed by Ouray County Undersheriff Tammy Stroup, showed Gottorff saying he wanted to be in witness protection, that he wanted to contact the CBI and FBI and he wanted the Department of Justice to place him in protective custody. He also claimed the district attorney and local law enforcement have covered up evidence and demanded their arrest. In some communications, he demanded officers be arrested prior to his sentencing so there would be a mistrial.
Stroup also testified she feared for the community and asked the judge for the maximum sentence of 18 years. She said she thinks Gottorff needs “severe mental health help.”
She characterized him as a manipulative narcissist who isn’t remorseful and won’t accept responsibility for his actions.
“He’s claimed himself to be sovereign, he has no respect for the judicial system,” she said.
“This is the first time in my career I’ve been truly fearful for the community and everyone involved,” she said.
Prosecutors alleged during the trial that between early October 2022 and the end of January 2023, Gottorff posted a series of messages on social media and made phone calls threatening several law enforcement officers. Specifically, Gottorff targeted Ridgway Marshal Shane Schmalz, Ouray County sheriff’s investigator Bernie Chism and sheriff’s administrative officer Shelly Kuhlman. In one call, prosecutors said, Gottorff threatened to kill Kuhlman.
In some online posts, Gottorff claimed he had the legal authority to “take human life” while performing a “citizen’s arrest” of Schmalz. He also posted photos of himself posing with an AR-15, stating, “consider the bear poked … provoked and defending his den and territory.” In another post, Gottorff claimed if an officer contacted him it would be the “end of watch,” a term used to mark the date a police officer is killed in the line of duty. He also posted demands of Chism, claiming he owed him seven days in jail, money, loss of employment and compensation for emotional distress.
“This is your notice of collection … how would you like to pay? Failure to pay your debts in full will result in the collection of this debt by any means necessary without further notice,” Gottorff posted. This led prosecutors to charge Gottorff with attempting to influence a public servant.
Schmalz testified during the trial Gottorff followed him on one occasion, and that, coupled with Gottorff’s social media posts, left him fearful Gottorff would ambush him.
“I feel that he is a great safety risk to the community, to his victims, and that he would stop at nothing,” Schmalz told the judge at the hearing.
During the sentencing hearing, Stroup also cited concerns about escalating behavior, with Gottorff targeting individuals. She said her training on active shooters has shown her this kind of behavior is concerning.
“They’ll name their subjects, they’ll name their crimes and they’ll name themselves,” she said, adding she noticed Gottorff taking “substantial steps” toward more damaging actions.
Others asked the court for leniency.
Gottorff’s sister, Susan Ransower, testified that her brother stands up for injustice and isn’t violent.
She said concerns that he exhibited behaviors akin to a mass shooter were “absolutely ridiculous,” and asked for mental health treatment to help him “walk away” and “not stand up so strongly.”
However, Stroup testified earlier in the hearing she previously spoke with Ransower about her brother and “she told me that he was dangerous, that she was afraid of him, that she was afraid to testify against him in matters that she knew of because she was afraid of retaliation.”
Gottorff’s father, Kenneth, also testified and said “he hasn’t shown that in the past, that he would actually do anything,” and said his son had relinquished firearms to him last year.
Though those firearms – an AR-15 and a handgun – were transferred to Kenneth, he said they’re still in Gottorff’s garage at his Ridgway home.
His father also touted Gottorff’s community service, and his environmental advocacy in the Lake Irwin Coalition.
In June, Seventh Judicial District Chief District Court Judge Steven Patrick ruled Gottorff owes more than $104,000 in court costs and attorney’s fees stemming from a case at his home at Lake Irwin. Gunnison County won a civil suit against Gottorff for failing to install a septic system at his cabin and dumping raw sewage from a pipe into the forest, a situation that persisted for at least six years.
Gottorff has been involved in more than 50 civil cases, including one in which he was ordered to stop targeting and harassing Colorado Boy Brewery and its owners, and numerous protection orders requiring him to stay away from others. Much of the conflict stems from an incident in 2019 in which Gottorff was banned from Colorado Boy after an altercation with his former boss, Andy Michelich. He was convicted of a misdemeanor in that case.
Gottorff’s attorney, Nick Kreider, argued he has been treated as an outcast in the community, was portrayed as an “unrepentant monster” and deserved probation with “social media literacy” education and other community-based options.
At the end of the sentencing hearing, Gottorff spent 20 minutes addressing the court. While he started by saying he took responsibility for his actions, his speech quickly turned to accuse others of targeting him and how he was victimized.
“I’ve been made to feel unsafe in my community not only by law enforcement. I don’t feel safe in my home because of the conduct of my neighbors which has been aided and abetted by law enforcement,” he said.
He said he’s the one being harassed and justified his posts on social media as efforts to make others aware of injustices and stand up for himself.
“I made some Instagram posts that tried to expose what was going on,” he told the judge.
“I want to go on being the decent human being that I’ve been for the past 48 years,” he said.
He asked the judge not to lock him away with “people who have serious drug problems and mental health issues.”
“I’m a good, decent person. I have been my entire life and I’d like a little bit of recognition for that,” he said. “I just want, as so many other people in this room do, justice.”
The prison sentence is on top of other sentences he’s received recently in other cases.
In August, County Judge Sean Murphy found Gottorff in contempt of court for more than 300 social media posts and stickers, which Gottorff has claimed are protected free speech. Murphy previously ruled in 2021 that Gottorff hadn’t complied with court orders to take down more than 100 stickers and social media posts targeting Colorado Boy and issued a $2,500 fine.
The order last month included a $10,000 fine and a 30-day jail sentence. Murphy also ordered Gottorff to take down social media pages and posts targeting the brewpub, destroy the stickers he still has, retrieve all the stickers he placed anywhere else and provide evidence he did so to the court. He also ordered Gottorff to pay court costs and attorney’s fees for Colorado Boy and said there would be a $50 per day fine if he did not comply with the order to take down the posts, pages and stickers.
Gottorff remained in custody at the Montrose County Jail on Wednesday, awaiting transport for processing in Denver with the Colorado Department of Corrections. He will be placed at one of the state’s prisons located across Colorado.
His estimated parole eligibility date is in May 2027, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
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