What Law Enforcement Should Know When Investigating A Stalking Case…

Number one – after 4 months of an active criminal investigation into the stalking, our daughter, Morgan, turns up dead, WHY, WHY, WHY did they only write third degree criminal trespass (petty offense) and harassment, and repeated communication at inconvenient hours (felony)? Why wasn’t stalking listed? Our detective told us this was a felony stalking case, when he was finally brought on.

Number twomake NO MISTAKE, as you can read for yourself, the report names Keenan Vanginkle as the main suspect, and suspect #1 as “unknown.” They knew Brooke Harris was the other suspect, but she was just under 18 at the time of the stalking, so she was redacted from the reports. So, please stop listening to anyone who tells you Brooke & Keenan were not involved in the stalking – they were!

Number three – Click on and listen to the video below…you can stop a stalker, and you can stop a murder, as per stalking expert, Mark Wynn. I believe him. Morgan did not, and should not have lost her life to her stalker…it could have been stopped! I encourage law enforcement to listen and make these important changes.

Law enforcement should:

  1. Not minimize these cases…it is tombstone mentality!
  2. Believe the victims, listen to them, treat them respectfully, and sensitively, it is the most important and the most important single intervention of most victims of crime
  3. Put the pieces together
  4. Listen to the victim
  5. Look at all of the incidents
  6. Stalking is a course of conduct and requires continual investigation
  7. Remember context is everything in a stalking case
  8. The job of law enforcement is to piece all the pieces of the puzzle together
  9. Look for who has a motive to do these acts
  10. Look for corroboration, evidence
  11. Interview the suspect – there is an offender who is after an identified victim
  12. Seek search warrants
  13. Use other investigative techniques, as those used in drug busts, saving a life is as important, if not more important than any drug bust
  14. Focus on the offender, and the victim – how easy can it get? You know who they are, and where they are going, as they stalk their victim.
  15. Develop mutual aid agreements to respond to stalking that crosses city, county and/or state lines.
    1. Stalkers have no boundaries, so we have to be on the same page, we have to communicate with each other, no reason we can’t talk across state & county lines. We can have mutual aid agreements, between police & sheriffs, from one city to one county to one state, because these offenders move through different places, as well as victims who run from state to state.
  16. Have clear policies, within your department, for responding to stalking and managing a case over time
  17. Every law enforcement agency should have a policy or protocol for stalking cases
  18. Include the victim in the safety planning
  19. Connect victims with advocates (prosecutor, neighbors, co-workers, etc., anyone who can help the victim). Don’t tell the victim to keep the fact that they are being stalked from others, as we were told by the sheriffs
  20. Enforce all orders of protection. Morgan wanted an order of protection, Detective Glassmire asked that she hold off in order to give them more time to make an arrest…that arrest did not come in time, Morgan was murdered. Law enforcement, many times, look at orders of protection as a civil matter, when in reality, they work as a trip wire when it comes to stalking cases. When an offender breaks a protection order, that is an indicator that they are thumbing their nose at the court and this offender is dangerous, so arresting the offender for breaking the order is a counter-stalking technique and should be utilized
  21. You can not minimize these cases – it is the most dangerous thing you can do in law enforcement. DO NOT give in to minimization
  22. Stalking and murder often go together
  23. Stalking is serious, pervasive and lethal

Stalking Resource Center

Morgan was stalked in Garfield, Colorado – here is how the law is listed in Colorado

This page lists the most applicable state crimes addressing stalking. However, depending on the facts of the case, a stalker might also be charged with other crimes, such as trespassing, intimidation of a witness, breaking and entering, etc. Check your state code or consult with your local prosecutor about other charges that might apply in a particular case.

Stalking

Analyzing Stalking Laws


Stalking

C.R.S. 18-3-601. [Formerly 18-9-111 (4) (a)] Legislative declaration. (2010)
(1)  The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

 (a)  Stalking is a serious problem in this state and nationwide;

(b)  Although stalking often involves persons who have had an intimate relationship with one another, it can also involve persons who have little or no past relationship;

(c)  A stalker will often maintain strong, unshakable, and irrational emotional feelings for his or her victim, and may likewise believe that the victim either returns these feelings of affection or will do so if the stalker is persistent enough. Further, the stalker often maintains this belief, despite a trivial or nonexistent basis for it and despite rejection, lack of reciprocation, efforts to restrict or avoid the stalker, and other facts that conflict with this belief.

(d)  A stalker may also develop jealousy and animosity for persons who are in relationships with the victim, including family members, employers and co-workers, and friends, perceiving them as obstacles or as threats to the stalker’s own “relationship” with the victim;

(e)  Because stalking involves highly inappropriate intensity, persistence, and possessiveness, it entails great unpredictability and creates great stress and fear for the victim;

(f)  Stalking involves severe intrusions on the victim’s personal privacy and autonomy, with an immediate and long-lasting impact on quality of life as well as risks to security and safety of the victim and persons close to the victim, even in the absence of express threats of physical harm.

(2)  The general assembly hereby recognizes the seriousness posed by stalking and adopts the provisions of this part 6 with the goal of encouraging and authorizing effective intervention before stalking can escalate into behavior that has even more serious consequences.

C.R.S. 18-3-602.  Stalking – penalty – definitions – Vonnie’s Law. (2012)

(1) A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly, through another person, the person knowingly:

(a) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or

(a) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or

 

(b) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; or

 

(c) Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress. For purposes of this paragraph (c), a victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.

(2) For the purposes of this part 6:

(a) Conduct “in connection with” a credible threat means acts that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose, and may occur before, during, or after the credible threat.

(a) Conduct “in connection with” a credible threat means acts that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose, and may occur before, during, or after the credible threat.

 

(b) “Credible threat” means a threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for the person’s safety or the safety of his or her immediate family or of someone with whom the person has or has had a continuing relationship. The threat need not be directly expressed if the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person such fear.

 

(c) “Immediate family” includes the person’s spouse and the person’s parent, grandparent, sibling, or child.

 

(d) “Repeated” or “repeatedly” means on more than one occasion.

(3) A person who commits stalking:

(a) Commits a class 5 felony for a first offense except as otherwise provided in subsection (5) of this section; or

 

(b) Commits a class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense, if the offense occurs within seven years after the date of a prior offense for which the person was convicted.

(4) Stalking is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to the modified presumptive sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-401 (10).

(5) If, at the time of the offense, there was a temporary or permanent protection order, injunction, or condition of bond, probation, or parole or any other court order in effect against the person, prohibiting the behavior described in this section, the person commits a class 4 felony.

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or diminish the inherent authority of the court to enforce its orders through civil or criminal contempt proceedings; however, before a criminal contempt proceeding is heard before the court, notice of the proceedings shall be provided to the district attorney for the judicial district of the court where the proceedings are to be heard and the district attorney for the judicial district in which the alleged act of criminal contempt occurred. The district attorney for either district shall be allowed to appear and argue for the imposition of contempt sanctions.

(7) A peace officer shall have a duty to respond as soon as reasonably possible to a report of stalking and to cooperate with the alleged victim in investigating the report.

(8)

(a) When a person is arrested for an alleged violation of this section, the fixing of bail for the crime of stalking shall be done in accordance with section 16-4-103 (2) (d), C.R.S., and a protection order shall issue in accordance with section 18-1-1001(5).

(b) This subsection (8) shall be known and may be cited as “Vonnie’s law.”

(9) When a violation under this section is committed in connection with a violation of a court order, including but not limited to any protection order or any order that sets forth the conditions of a bond, any sentences imposed pursuant to this section and pursuant to section 18-6-803.5, or any sentence imposed in a contempt proceeding for violation of the court order shall be served consecutively and not concurrently.

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