Criminal investigation of Weld County Sheriff’s Office employees starting over Ashley Fallis case

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The Fort Collins Police Department will conduct a criminal investigation into allegations made against Weld County Sheriff's Office employees regarding Ashley Fallis' death. "This investigation will occur in conjunction with the ongoing investigation into the death of Ashley Fallis. To this point, the Weld County Sheriff has cooperated with all requests regarding these allegations," a statement from the Weld County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Weld County DA Michael Rourke confirmed Wednesday night his office would ask for an impartial and independent criminal investigation into the Weld County Sheriff's Office and its four deputies who are accused of failing to cooperate with the Evans Police Department during the investigation of Ashley Fallis’ death in 2012.

“I`m told that the sheriff told (the deputies) they couldn't speak to (police) without (the sheriff’s) permission, even though they're required to cooperate in an investigation of this nature,” said Rick Blundell, who represents deputy Brian Spencer. Blundell said Spencer is now in the final stages of being fired. “My client was a hero that night because he's telling Evans police to handcuff this guy and bag his hands so you could preserve the gunshot residue and they did nothing.”

For the first time, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has been connected to his deputies’ actions that night. A deputy has come forward saying Reams ordered his top commander Paul Wood to the Fallis scene and that Wood gave the orders, and the deputies followed them.  The deputy has no knowledge of what Reams’ orders to Wood were.

Sources said one deputy who did have information was Chris Graves. He allegedly overheard Tom Fallis confess to his wife’s murder but Graves never reported it.

Blundell said the Sheriff fired Graves this week. Graves’ attorney declined to comment.

Last week, Reams denied that his 2012 hotly contested race for office had anything to do with his deputies' actions.

"Was this about protecting your office from scandal?” Reporter Justin Joseph asked.

Reams smiled and said, “no.”

“If this were a federal investigation, this would be obstruction of justice. Under Colorado law, this is official misconduct, which is also a crime. Either way, someone needs to investigate this,” Blundell said.

When made aware of these new allegations made against his office, the sheriff declined to respond specifically to any of them. He released this statement, which reads in part:

“On March 19th 2015, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office received new information that a deputy might have material information about the Fallis family investigation that had never been reported. When the Weld County Sheriff’s Office learned of this new information, an internal investigation was launched. During the internal investigation, three deputies and one supervisor were identified as being directly on scene during the Fallis incident. Currently, the internal investigation is still ongoing and specific personnel actions related to the involved deputies cannot be released. The Fort Collins Police Department’s criminal investigation, on behalf of the Evans Police Department, is ongoing for all matters of criminal relevance to the Fallis family investigation. The Weld County Sheriff’s Office will continue to assist Evans and Fort Collins police with any information that may be necessary for a complete investigation.”

The Weld County District Attorney confirmed the Weld County Sheriff’s office has cooperated with the continuing investigation. Michael Rourke declined to comment on which agency will conduct the criminal investigation into the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

See complete coverage of the Ashley Fallis case here.

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