by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG— A reportedly summer-long simmering feud between two men exploded into violence Friday Nov. 18 in Huerfano County, sending one man to the hospital and the other to jail on attempted murder charges.
Michael A. Ferraro, 52, of Trinidad, CO appeared in custody in district court in Walsenburg Monday Nov. 23, on initial charges of attempted first degree murder, criminal attempt, criminal mischief, throwing missiles at vehicles and harassment. Ferraro was ordered held in custody in lieu of $100,000 cash only bond and a return date to court was set by 3rd Judicial District Judge Claude Appel of Dec. 12, 2011.
The affidavit in support of the arrest warrant said Ferraro and Gino W. Begano, 38, of Walsenburg had at one time been friends but had a falling out over the summer and that Ferraro had been harassing him ever since, according to the victim.
Sometime after 4 pm Nov. 18, Begano said he was ‘ambushed’ by Ferraro on CR 310 near the entrance of Blackhawk Ranch. Begano told investigators he was driving on the road at about 30-mph and saw Ferraro’s truck parked behind the wall near the ‘Blackhawk Gate’ and as he passed Ferraro threw the boulder at him full force. He said Ferraro then chased Begano in his vehicle until he turned into “Joe Menegatti’s” road where he was able to call 911 for help.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Clayton W. Mock and Huerfano County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Walsh investigated the incident.
During the interview with the trooper at the hospital, Begano provided the investigator with background on the issue between the two men. Begano told the trooper the two had a ‘history’ and said, at one time Begano was a longtime friend of Ferraro’s and the two had done some work together. Ferraro had asked Begano to do some work on a building, but because of an impending move, and being busy with his own business, Begano had not been able to assist Ferraro in the construction of that building. At that point, Begano told the trooper, the two men had a falling out and Ferraro had begun to harass him whenever they saw each other.
Over the summer, Begano told Mock, Ferraro had told people he was a ‘wife beater and child abuser’ and had also defaced some of his advertisement poster and was driving by and parking in front of Begano’s home and watching him and his family. He said the harassment became so unbearable that he moved his family further down the subdivision closer to friends who could help keep an eye on him and his family.
He told Mock this kind of thing had been happening all summer up until today. Deputy Walsh arrived at the hospital while Mock was interviewing the victim and advised he had also talked to another person at the scene who confirmed there had been a long-standing animosity by Ferraro towards Begano. The victim’s wife also arrived at the hospital and provided investigators with several pages from a notebook the couple had used to keep track of the incidents involving Ferraro, as well as the defaced poster. Mock read the pages and took notice of an entry on July 1, that stated “Ferraro had called them (the Beganos) and stated that he was going to (expletive deleted) me up and would blow my brains out too”.
Copies were made of the journal entries and the defaced poster for later reference in the investigation.
When the alleged suspect was identified by the victim he told the trooper, “you guys probably know him, he was the guy that threatened to kill the Trooper (sic) in trinidad married to the (name deleted) girl”. In the affidavit the Mock wrote, “I also recalled an incident earlier this summer involving Mr. Ferraro and Trooper Jorge Leal that occurred on Colorado 12 in or near Jansen. Trooper Leal had been on a DUI arrest of another motorist when he was approached by Mr. Ferraro and threatened. A cautionary message had been sent out to all Troopers in the Troop at that time to be aware of his hostile demeanor, and his wish to kill or injure law enforcement officers”.
In support of the charges, Mock wrote in his affidavit, “Ferraro was reported to have concealed his vehicle behind an adobe wall, out of plain sight and procured a large rock approximately the size of a soccer ball, where he then waited for a specific person, and attempted to strike him in the head with it. Up to this point, Mr Ferraro and Mr. Begano had not been in contact, or in any conflict involving a ‘heat of passion’ or provocation by the victim. It is not unreasonable to assume that a tock the size of a soccer ball when thrown by a grown health man such as Mr. Ferraro could inflict serious bodily injury or death, which is even more likely considering that Mr. Begano was in a moving vehicle that increases the velocity of the rock, and by Mr. Begano’s incapacitation would also likely result in a vehicle crash. It is important to note that not only did the rock break the window and hit Mr. begano, it carried enough velocity to travel over the back seat, over the passenger compartment and still break out the rear window of the SUV. Mr. Ferraro then attempted to pursue Mr. Begano for some distance before Mr. Begano reached the safety of witnesses”.
At 10:16 pm Friday the request for the warrant was reviewed by Clay McKisson of the district attorney’s office.
It was signed by Huerfano County Judge Gary Stoke and Ferraro was taken into custody.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward