(Las Animas, CO) -- Las Animas City employee Greg Champney is set to be in a Bent County district court room Wednesday, March 15th for a motions hearing on arson charges in the Fort Lyon fire from April of 2022.
A motions hearing is the chance for both the district attorney and the defense to ask the court to take an action which is a motion. This is normally a few months before a scheduled jury trial. The motions hearing is set for 1:30 at the Bent County courthouse.
Other notable occurrences in the case have included PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asking for the district attorney to add animal cruelty charges to Champney. Several animals died in the April 2022 fire near Ft. Lyon.
Another was a letter that the Mayor of Las Animas, Scott Peterson wrote to support the city's decision to leave Champney on paid administrative leave. Peterson explained that the presumption of innocence is a hallmark of the legal system and until Champney has a chance to be tried, he would remain employed as a code enforcement officer for the city of Las Animas.
According to the Bent County Court Docket, Champney is set for a jury trial for May 22nd through May 25th, 2023.
The charges that were initially filed against him are:
Charges Arson 1 5/16/2022 --Status Arrest Only Charge Statute 18-4-102(1) Class F3 (Class 3 Felony) Offense Date From 04/12/2022
Charges Arson 2-damage $100k-$1m Reads 18-4-103 Status Arrest Only Charge Statute 18-4-103(1),(2)(g) Class F3 (Class 3 Felony) Offense Date From 04/12/2022
Charges Arson 4-property $100k-$1m Endangered Reads 18-4-105(2) Status Arrest Only Charge Statute 18-4-105(1),(3)(g) Class F3 (Class 3 Felony) Offense Date From 04/12/2022
Charges Firing Woods/prairie-set Fire Reads 18-13-109 Status Arrest Only Charge Statute 18-13-109(1) Class PO (Unclassified Petty Offense) Offense Date From 04/12/2022
Charges Reckless Endangerment Status Arrest Only Charge Statute 18-3-208 Class M2 (Class 2 Misdemeanor) Offense Date From 04/12/2022
The Fort Lyon fire destroyed two homes near Ft. Lyon and burned nearly 3,000 acres. Multiple agencies were deployed for mutual aid and the state of Colorado deployed a unit to help with relief.
Champney is the code enforcement officer for the City of Las Animas. He turned himself into the Bent County Sheriff's office.