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Bellah preliminary hearing continued

WALSENBURG — The preliminary hearing of Russell Bellah, who has been charged with a number of felony and misdemeanor counts stemming from an incident last July, was continued Monday, December 14 after new criminal allegations were reported allegedly involving the defendant. The matter was to be heard by District Judge Claude Appel this week, but prior to the hearing District Attorney Frank Ruybalid met with defense counsel Patrick McCarville and Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen and Captain Vince Suarez in a brief closed door session concerning the new criminal allegation. The preliminary hearing was set to see if there was probable cause to move ahead on the eight felony charges facing the defendant. A total of 15 charges have been filed against Bellah: two counts of attempt to commit first degree murder; two counts of attempt to commit first degree assault (both class 2 felonies); two counts of second degree assault (class 4 felonies); possession of a weapon by a previous offender (class 5 felony) and third degree assault of an at-risk victim (class 6 felony). In addition misdemeanor charges include prohibited use of a weapon, violation of a protection order, criminal mischief, resisting arrest harassment and two counts of reckless endangerment. The latest allegation, which cut short the scheduled hearing this week, is that Bellah made a death threat against law enforcement sometime in the past week that was reported by Huerfano County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Walsh. The threat was allegedly made while the defendant was being transported to a medical appointment. Ruybalid told the court Monday he was prepared to proceed with the show cause hearing, but thought the serious new allegation, received last week, had caused his office to remove a potential plea bargain with the defendant. He said the reports concerning the new allegation were not available and he requested the continuance until he had seen them. McCarville said he had not heard of any details of the allegation until Monday morning, but requested if the hearing was continued he would like his client released on a personal recognizance bond. Bellah has been in custody since July 22 on a $100,000 c/s bond. Judge Appel found no discovery violation and denied the defense request for any adjusted bond for the defendant. The preliminary hearing was rescheduled for 1:30 pm Wednesday, December 23. At 4:34 pm July 22, 2015 Chief McLallen and WPD Captain Vince Suarez were dispatched to a location in the 500 block of West Eleventh Street on a report of a disturbance. A press release issued by the police department at the time said, “Upon arrival officers found a female victim, a half a block away from the residence, who reported she was assaulted by her son”. When officers drove up to the residence, Bellah, the identified assault suspect, allegedly fired one shot at the officers with a rifle. The officers were able to get the suspect to drop his weapon and attempted to take the suspect into custody. The suspect began to struggle with the officers and resist arrest.” Bellah, 45 at the time, allegedly fought with both officers. Police used tasers to attempt to subdue the suspect, saying later, Bellah at one point reportedly pulled the taser darts from his body and continue to advance on the officers. He continued to struggle, according to Chief McLallen, even after he was handcuffed.

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