Colorado City officials enter not guilty pleas


KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Not guilty pleas were entered Tuesday on behalf of two public officials who are accused of misappropriating funds from the Fire District in Colorado City, the northern Arizona home of the polygamous sect headed by Warren Jeffs.

Fire Chief Jacob Barlow, 55, is named in each of 30 counts in an Aug. 4 indictment alleging misuse of public funds and participating or assisting in a criminal enterprise.

Thirteen counts in the indictment target David Darger, 41, who is charged as the former secretary-treasurer to the Fire District, not as his continuing role as Colorado City town manager.

Both defendants are free to travel within the United States after court-ordered release on their own recognizance. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steve Conn scheduled Sept. 26 case management hearings for both men.

Prosecutor James Schoppmann told reporters after the arraignment that he is not at liberty to detail his case but that it is alleged that Barlow and Darger orchestrated misuse of Fire District funds for themselves or others.

Barlow's lawyer, Mike Piccarreta, has said that the defense will justify any questionable expenditure as the case unfolds.

Schoppmann said he anticipates filing additional charges after he receives evidence from undisclosed investigation activity in the area of Hildale, Utah, just across the border from Colorado City.

Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is serving a life prison sentence in Texas for his convictions this month for sexually assaulting two underage girls.

 

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