by staff report
WALSENBURG — Two local men charged in connection with an alleged abduction and sexual assault of a Walsenburg teenager entered not guilty pleas in district court here Jan. 12.
Separate trials have now been set for Laqun Murphy, 30 and Daniel Willburn, 26, both of Walsenburg, on charges stemming from the September 2011 attack.
District Attorney Frank Ruybalid filed nine charges against the pair who were arraigned last Thursday in district court.
Murphy and Willburn have been charged with sexual assault, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, third degree assault, harassment and interference with staff, faculty and students of an educational institution.
Ruybalid had requested the two men be tried together but District Judge Claude Appel set two separate trial dates for the defendants during the hearing. Murphy’s trial has been set to begin June 4 and Willburn’s June 18; both are set for two weeks.
Both defendants remain in custody in the Huerfano County Jail on $100,000 cash-only bonds.
In the initial investigation, a third suspect was mentioned, a woman, who allegedly drove the car the teenage girl was taken in from outside John Mall High School to a location adjacent to the new football field where she reported she was assaulted by the two men.
Neither suspect in the case has given any statement to investigators according to Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain. He has said in past interviews that no new information concerning the potential third suspect has been received.
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