Peter Bellar to be tried again after hung jury for Douglass Singleton murder: Marijuana related?

Categories: Crime

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Big pics below.
Like the allegedly marijuana-related fatal crash involving Joshua Wittig, the January 2010 murder of Douglass Singleton, reportedly during a robbery involving medical marijuana, made a big splash initially, then fell off the media's radar. Turns out a lot's happened in the case, including a hung jury in the first trial of accused killer Peter Bellar. But Bellar will soon be headed back to court.

Singleton was gunned down on the 2600 block of North Leyden Street . Shortly thereafter, according to a Denver Police Department account, a man suffering from a gunshot wound walked into Denver Health. According to a DPD release, an investigation subsequently revealed that the Leyden Street victim and the man at Denver Health "were conducting a Medical Marijuana transaction at the residence when an altercation occurred. The suspect pulled a gun and shot the victim, the suspect received his gunshot wound in this altercation as well."

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Near the scene.
Days later, Peter Bellar was arrested and charged with murder. In early February, a second man, Isaiah Shaffer, was charged in the Singleton killing as well; he was said to have accompanied Bellar.

In the meantime, many members of the MMJ community suggested that police were playing up the medical marijuana angle of the homicide to demonize weed at a time when bills to formalize and regulate the industry were before the Colorado legislature.

Those measures subsequently passed -- and the following October, Bellar finally went to trial. However, according to Denver District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough, that proceeding "ended with a not-guilty verdict on two aggravated robbery counts and a hung jury on felony murder."

Afterward, the DA's office didn't raise the white flag. Kimbrough confirms that Bellar will be tried again on the felony murder accusation, with the next trial scheduled for April 15. Shaffer is slated to go before the court to face his own charges on July 12.

Look below and page down to see original booking photos of Bellar and Schaffer, as well as Denver DA's office releases announcing charges against them and an interactive graphic showing the area near where the homicide took place; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

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"In the meantime, many members of the MMJ community suggested that police were playing up the medical marijuana angle of the homicide to demonize weed ..." -- the police were, but the Denver Post cited this case (irrationally) to try to insinuate that dispensaries were associated with crime. This particular case had no implications for or link with the General Assembly's attempted hijacking of medical cannabis last year -- this is more insinuation (like "Marijuana Related?") which may titillate but does not edify, something on the order of couching an insinuation that aliens came here in the form of a question: "DID ancient astonauts teach the Egyptians how to suck eggs?" -- inquiring minds want to know.

There is an historic aspect to the struggles against drug-fascism taking place in Colorado, for all the self-important posturing, and I am proud to be a part of it. I wish that more people of all sorts starting with journalists would begin to take cannabis seriously -- our irrational policies regarding this drug and others have far more negative consequences for society than most have any inkling.

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