NEWS: Tuesday January 26, 2010

Jan 26th @ 11:24 am in News by Scott Staley

The Grand Junction Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing person. 51-year-old James “Jim” Walker was last seen on the morning of January 21st near N. 21st St. and North Ave in a 1998 Black Chevy Suburban with Colorado license plate 709-TSP.  He is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown, graying hair and hazel eyes.  Walker was wearing a black jacket with a “Bridgett’s Pilot Cars” logo and the name “Jim” on it. If you have seen Jim Walker or know where he is please call 242-6707.
(Example photo of what Jim Walker’s SUV looks like. Photo courtesy of the GJPD)
(Photo of Jim Walker courtesy of GJPD)
(Photo of Jim Walker courtesy of GJPD)
Source: Grand Junction Police Department   (Posted 10:23a)

Steven Clay Romero, age 37, of Grand Junction, Colorado, and his sister, Melissa Marie Lockhart, age 32, of Fruita, Colorado, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver late yesterday on charges related to the dragging death and subsequent cover up of “Buddy the Dog,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Park Service announced.  Romero is presently being held in federal custody.  An arrest warrant has been issued for Lockhart.  Romero is due to appear in federal court in Grand Junction on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird T. Milburn.

According to the indictment, between December 29 and December 30, 2009, Romero did knowingly torture, needlessly mutilate, and needlessly kill an animal, known as “Buddy the Dog,” by dragging the dog behind a vehicle at the Colorado National Monument.  The defendant allegedly tied a rope around the bumper of a vehicle on one end and a rope around the dog’s neck on the other end, driving and dragging him until the dog was dead.

Between December 30 and December 31, 2009, Lockhart had knowledge that a felony crime, namely aggravated animal cruelty, was committed by Romero.  Further, the indictment alleges that Lockhart concealed the crime by making false statements to law enforcement, and that she did not make the crime known to a judge or another person in authority.

Steven Clay Romero is charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty.  If convicted he faces not more than 3 years in federal prison, and up to a $100,000 fine, or both.  Melissa Marie Lockhart is charged with misprision of a felony.  If convicted she faces not more than 3 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine, or both.  Lockhart also faces state charges of dog theft in Delta, Colorado.

The case was investigated by The National Park Service, which is a division of the Department of Interior, the Delta Police Department, the Fruita Police Department, the Grand Junction Police Department, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Romero and Lockhart are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.

These charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Source: Press Release   (Posted 10:37a)