With evidence lacking, criminal charges dismissed in fight

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Criminal charges have been dismissed against three Colorado men who were alleged to have attacked three other men in Powell last month. With witnesses unable to provide many details of the fight, police were never able to compile a clear picture of who did what.

Sergio Figueroa, his brother Ramon Figueroa, and their cousin Fernando Trejo — all of northern Colorado — were freed on May 16 after spending nearly two weeks in jail.

The three men were initially charged with one felony count of aggravated assault and battery each. However, the Park County Attorney’s Office ultimately decided to drop the charges against Trejo and Ramon Figueroa while a judge threw out the case against Sergio Figueroa due to a lack of evidence.

Sergio Figueroa admitted he had traveled to Powell with the intent of settling a dispute with a local man, and said he’d brought a gun for “precautionary” reasons, according to police. The Powell man Figueroa was targeting was reportedly “pistol-whipped” with a handgun during the May 5 altercation and he suffered a 1-inch gash to his head, Powell Police Officer Trevor Carpenter testified at a preliminary hearing.

“We do know Mr. Sergio Figueroa brought the gun to Powell for some reason; he was concerned about something. That in itself is somewhat intriguing,” Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters said after hearing the evidence. “But is there any testimony that Sergio is the one who pulled the gun out of the [Colorado men’s] truck and smacked the victim ... in the head with that gun? Well, we don’t have that.”

“There may be some evidence that he did,” Waters added, “But is that evidence enough to get us through the probable cause test and standard? I don’t think we’re there.”

The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could refile the charge if police come up with new evidence.

Multiple people called 911 to report the fight, which broke out near the corner of Fifth and Hamilton streets.

The incident had ended and the Figueroas and Trejo had left in a Dodge Ram by the time Powell police arrived. The Dodge was stopped in Cody a short time later and the three Coloradans were arrested.

Bystanders told Powell police that the men from Colorado appeared to have been the “main aggressors” in the fight, but their accounts and those given by the three Powell brothers lacked many details.

For instance, the Powell man who was pistol-whipped recalled his assailant as being Hispanic and wearing a black shirt — but all six men involved in the fight were Hispanic, and five were wearing black. Sergio Figueroa’s court-appointed defense attorney, Lindsey Krause, also argued that the Figueroa brothers look alike.

“To me, they look awfully similar,” Krause said. “And I don’t know how the state can show that it was Sergio Figueroa that had the alleged gun in this case and hurt [the alleged victim].”

Bystanders also told police people had been kicked and other weapons were used in the fight, but officers do not know who dealt or received those attacks, Carpenter said.

As Krause summarized, “There’s evidence of a male being kicked, but there’s no evidence of who that male is; there’s no evidence of who was doing the kicking. There’s evidence someone was swinging a chain-like object [but] we don’t know who was swinging; we don’t know who it was swung at.”

Police also never recovered the gun, which Judge Waters described as being among “a few loose ends in this one that may or may not ever get resolved.”

When Powell officers searched the Dodge Ram a couple days after the fight, they did find a small bag of marijuana and a pipe. Ramon Figueroa, the truck’s owner, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing a controlled substance and paid $655.

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