A guilty verdict in a jury trial Wednesday at Montezuma County Combined Courts resulted in the defendant’s family members were removed from the courtroom before being removed from the courthouse entirely.
At about 1:30 p.m., the jury in 22nd Judicial District Court found Brian C. Gallegos, 42, guilty on two counts of felony menacing. Court records state all the defendants family members were ordered to leave the courtroom and into the hallway, but the hearing was still open to the public.
District Attorney Will Furse, in a statement to The Journal, stated after the guilty verdict that two members of the jury informed the judge of concerns regarding the conduct of at least one member of the defendant’s family. The jurors were questioned and law enforcement began a criminal investigation, he stated. The jurors said the family member did not affect their deliberations or verdict.
At about 2:30 p.m., proceedings in a Montezuma County courtroom on the other side of the building were stalled as court security deputies were radioed about a disturbance in the hallway.
In addition to at least three court security deputies, five Cortez Police officers subpoenaed to testify in preliminary hearings poured out of the Montezuma County courtroom and into the hallway along with District Attorney Will Furse and Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Reed.
A court security deputy told a woman in the hallway to leave. Two deputies then ran down the hallway toward the district courtroom and informed all members of the Gallegos family, including several small children, to leave the courthouse.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin said no arrests were made.
“Deputies ordered them to be removed from the courthouse and they did,” Nowlin said. “They complied.”
Court records state matters that occurred in the courtroom may not be discussed outside of the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office.