Jury finds Barker guilty of menacing cyclists

8:23 PM, Mar 4, 2011   |    comments
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Barker faced felony counts of menacing and criminal mischief, to which he pleaded not guilty last fall. With the verdict, the jury reduced the criminal mischief charge to $500 to $1,000, making it a Class 1 misdemeanor. The menacing with a deadly weapon charge is a class 5 felony.

Neither Barker nor anyone from his family or his attorney spoke with the media after the verdict was announced.

Prosecutor Josh Lehman said the maximum penalty Barker could face would be one to three years in prison but that a sentence that harsh isn't likely in this case.

A probation sentence, which could include a short amount of jail time, is more along the lines of what Barker could face, Lehman said.

"I'll certainly be asking for restitution," Lehman said after the trial ended Friday.

The amount of restitution Barker will have to pay will be partially determined by victim statements and requests and prosecutorial and defense recommendations, but Judge Thomas French will ultimately decide what amount Barker will pay.

After two-and-a-half days of testimony, the jury had to decide who was the victim in the July 18 episode on County Road 6 outside of Berthoud.

Lehman argued that three cyclists, Joe Stevens, Alison Dickson and Mark Mettler, were surprised by Barker when he drove too closely past them on the road, waving a bat from inside the car.

He then pulled over and yelled at them, threatening Stevens and smashing his $4,800 road bike with the bat, he said.

Barker's attorney, Timothy O'Keefe, maintained that Barker was driving past the cyclists slowly and pulled over to make sure they were OK after one of them was waving his arms in the air as he went past. The cyclists then got mad, O'Keefe said, and threatened Barker, who hit Stevens' bike once to warn them off.

Testimony from more than five witnesses supported both stories – one saying that Barker jabbed the bat at Stevens, one saying that Stevens threw his bike at Barker's car, denting it.

Barker will appear again in court April 26 for sentencing.

This story written by Maria Servold, Loveland Connection.

(Copyright © 2011 Loveland Connection, All Rights Reserved)

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