Three men suspected of sexually assaulting a woman after threatening her with a gun could spend the rest of their lives in prison if found guilty of felony sex assault. The charges were filed Friday in District Court.
All three men – Devin “Ducky” Richard Bond, 21, Anthony “Izzy” Israel Fitts, 18, and James Thomas Zink, 18, all of La Plata County – appeared Friday wearing orange jail-issued jumpsuits in 6th Judicial District Court.
Fitts and Zink received bond hearings, after which District Judge William Herringer declined to reduce Fitts’ bail but agreed to reduce Zink’s bail from $150,000 to $100,000.
Bond and Fitts are being held on $150,000 bail.
All three men are charged with three counts of felony sexual assault and three crimes of violence after threatening a woman with a shotgun and forcing her to perform sexual acts. According to the complaint filed in district court, the three counts of sexual assault include causing submission of the victim against her will, assaulting the woman while she was incapable of appraising the nature of her conduct and assaulting her while she was physically helpless.
The woman told police she had been drinking and got a ride from Zink, expecting to go to Fort Lewis College. But the men never took her there.
If found guilty, the men face a minimum of 16 years in prison but could spend the rest of their lives in prison under Colorado’s sentencing laws for violent sexual offenders. It would be up to a parole board to determine if the men are safe for release after serving their sentences.
The alleged assaults occurred early Oct. 14 inside a Toyota Sequoia that was driven to various locations throughout Durango over an unknown period of time. Police were searching for the vehicle after someone reported Zink had stolen his rent money. Police found the Sequoia at Durango Skate Park near the 1300 block of Roosa Avenue, with Zink in the driver’s seat. A woman inside the vehicle had a look of “pure terror,” according to an arrest affidavit. Police separated the woman from the men to speak to her.
The men were then arrested and booked into La Plata County Jail.
On Friday, all three men waived formal reading of the charges and possible charges, meaning their lawyers reviewed the charges and possible penalties with them ahead of time.
Fitts’ defense lawyer, Heather Little, asked the judge to reduce his bail to $20,000 because she said a family member of Fitts has offered him a full-time job, and he could be supervised nearly 24 hours a day. He has lived in the area since age 14, so he does not present a flight risk, Little said.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Murray objected to the request to reduce bail, saying Fitts has a juvenile criminal record, including drunken driving and trespassing into a vehicle. He asked the judge to consider the seriousness of the offense.
Herringer said Fitts is presumed innocent and has some stability in the community, but his prior offenses, the stiff possible penalty of the felony sexual assault and the allegation that a gun was used are concerning. The judge refused to reduce his bail.
Fitts appeared expressionless during most of the hearing.
Zink shook his head from side to side each time the judge or lawyers mentioned he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
His defense lawyer, Anne Woods, said Zink has never been arrested and he scored extremely well on a test that gauges whether a defendant is likely to show up to court or reoffend while released on bail.
“He’s terrified standing before the court right now,” she said.
Murray objected to reducing Zink’s bond, again asking the judge to consider the seriousness of the offense and that Zink was the main actor as opposed to a complicitor.
Woods persuaded Herringer to reduce Zink’s bail by $50,000 based on his lack of criminal history.
Zink took two deep breaths upon hearing the decision.
His lawyer was unsure if his family would be able to post the $100,000 bail. He must wear a GPS ankle bracelet and remain at his house, if released.
Katie Whitney, defense lawyer for Bond, did not argue for reduced bail for her client.