MONTROSE, CO—District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller today filed a motion to dismiss the case against Frederick Mueller. In February 2012, Dan Hotsenpiller filed one count of murder against Frederick Mueller related to the suspicious drowning of his wife, Dr. Leslie Mueller, in Hinsdale County on May 3, 2008. In February 2013, after a five week trial in Gunnison County, a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Subsequently, venue was moved to Broomfield County, and once again in October 2013, following a trial, a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The motion to dismiss will preclude a third trial that was set for January 6, 2014.
“Two separate juries in two separate jurisdictions were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the defendant’s guilt,” said Hotsenpiller. “As prosecutors, we accept the highest burden of proof and the responsibility to be ministers of justice. After an extraordinary investigation and two jury trials presenting all evidence available to the people, it is my determination that a unanimous verdict is an unlikely outcome of a third trial. The people do not have additional evidence to present at this time, and in consideration of all factors affecting the interests of justice, will not proceed to re-try Frederick Mueller,” stated Hotsenpiller.
“Discharging the duty to seek justice requires Colorado prosecutors to file cases supported by substantial evidence, and to vigorously work to achieve a resolution through fair proceedings,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “In this case, it is regrettable that a resolution through trial by jury is unlikely.”
"The duty to seek justice also requires Colorado prosecutors to consider the consequences of further legal proceedings, including the use of public resources; the burden to future jurors, witnesses and judicial workers; and the impact on the victim’s family,” elaborated Hotsenpiller. “In this case, extensive public resources have already been expended. The parents and children of Dr. Leslie Mueller had no involvement in the death of their daughter and mother. They do not wish to endure a third trial focused on the events of May 2008,” explained Hotsenpiller.
The investigation was a joint effort of the Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office, the Hinsdale County Coroner, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was a unique collaboration between the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office Violent Crime Assistance Team, and the Twentieth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“The law enforcement officials in this case are to be commended for extraordinary skill, diligence and perseverance. The prosecutors, especially Deputy Attorney General Matthew Durkin and Assistant District Attorney (20th) Ryan Brackley, have my eternal gratitude for their exceptional performance and professionalism,” praised Hotsenpiller. “This Office of the District Attorney will continue to prosecute challenging cases and will continue to seek assistance when appropriate to present the best possible cases on behalf of the people of the Seventh Judicial District,” concluded Hotsenpiller.
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