Video: Why Donny Andrews is STILL in prison and ex-sheriff Pat Sullivan isn't

donny.andrews.518x355.png
Donny Andrews, near the start of his 81-year sentence.
Two years ago, former Arapahoe County sheriff Pat Sullivan managed to chisel down a pack of squalid allegations involving methamphetamine, trading drugs for sex, exploiting a mentally challenged individual and even a sort-of admission of sex with minors into the world's sweetest plea deal, copping to one felony and one misdemeanor, in exchange for a mere thirty days in jail and probation.

At the time, we noted that a fellow named Donny Andrews had particular reason to be outraged at the break that Sullivan got.

Back in the late 1980s, Arapahoe County prosecutors were so keen on throwing the book at Andrews, a 21-year-old drug addict who committed a series of burglaries to support his coke habit, that they pushed to stack his sentences consecutively, sending him away for a mind-boggling 81 years. And leading the charge was a lawman named Pat Sullivan.

Thumbnail image for donny.andrews.mug.shot.2.jpg
Donny Andrews today.
A quarter-century later, Andrews is still doing time. As noted in my 2009 feature "The Quality of Mercy," he's been clean and sober for decades. Yet he's watched rapists, murderers and child molesters cycle out of the system while he still sits there, serving an absurdly long sentence for a series of nonviolent crimes.

"I had to seek rehabilitation on my own," Andrews wrote in a letter to Westword in 2012. "I am now a 44-year-old man who has aged out of crime, overcome drug addiction, and survived many years of the abuses that prison has to offer."

Clearly, the war on drugs has been a selective one. Just ask Andrews -- or Sullivan, for that matter. Sullivan's story isn't all that different from that of many addicts, a downward spiral of drug abuse and desperation fueling criminal behavior. But he hasn't had to face the same kind of draconian sentencing scheme that was imposed on Andrews by then-district attorney Jim Peters at the height of the drug-war frenzy.

pat.sullivan.court.may.2014.2a.jpg
Former Sheriff Pat Sullivan during a court appearance earlier this month.
The disgraced sheriff has apparently violated his probation repeatedly by using alcohol and meth and faces a sentencing hearing on June 19; he could be going back to the jail that once bore his name, but only for a year or eighteen months. That's just a brief vacation compared to what Andrews has been through.

"I could go on and on about numerous people I know who went to jail or prison for one hot UA," Andrews wrote to us this week. "Sullivan has reportedly failed 5 UAs, refused to report for tests and left the state without permission. I guess some people really are above the law."

Andrews and his family are currently working on an appeal to Governor John Hickenlooper to commute his sentence. In conjunction with that, check out the video below, featuring his niece Kayla talking about her uncle being imprisoned during her entire lifetime.

More from our Follow That Story archive circa May 15: "Pat Sullivan, disgraced sheriff, could get 12-18 months after probation violations for meth."

My Voice Nation Help
24 comments
John Elliott
John Elliott

I'd bet every single one of you bashing cops on here has done something to deserve their scrutiny or your arrest. You are NOT a victim of anything except your own stupid fucking choices.

John Elliott
John Elliott

Fuck Donny Andrews and any piece of shit that breaks into another person's home or car to steal shit that doesn't belong to them. I'll echo the sentiments of another poster on here...some dumb fuck breaks in when I or anyone in my family is home, they leave in a body bag, no exceptions. Same with anyone I catch over the 6 foot fence surrounding my entire, gate-locked yard and on my property if I feel that they represent a material threat to me or my family. If you think these shitbags who victimize people deserve leniency for whatever reason whatsoever, YOU are what's wrong with this country.

Brent Dishneau
Brent Dishneau

Morale of the story: Cops get away with anything, unless they shoot up a dollar store trying to a kill a squirrel, then they get fired cuz that's just not right.

We Are Change Colorado
We Are Change Colorado

You forgot to mention child molesting in that description of Sullivan. Thanks Denver Westword for creating some pressure on Judge Sylvester to give Sullivan a proper sentence on June 6th and on John W. Hickenlooper to pardon Donny Andrews. The Sullivan story goes much much deeper; it's a shame Jonathan Elinoff (investigator who turned over witness testimony to FBI) had to back off on the rest of his findings..

Evan Rude
Evan Rude

Patrick Sullivan was involved in an investigation prior to the Columbine shootings, that Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold were raped by the poLICE. Another young man was institutionalized in a mental ward for going public with these allegations. THIS NEEDS TO BE REVISITED!

Andy Sereda
Andy Sereda

One thing I've learned in the real world, it's all about "who you know."

Wookie
Wookie

What a crock of B.S. He should be held to a higher standard than the citizens he's imprisoned over the years!

Lynne Van Bebber Rerucha
Lynne Van Bebber Rerucha

our privatized prisons are full of barely criminal criminals while anyone who helped to put them there get a slap

John Jones
John Jones

Did he spend time in the detention facility formally known as the Patrick Sullivan Detention Facility

Chris Arellano
Chris Arellano

Do what you want with your own body but break into the house where my family sleeps? Be happy you're in jail instead of a body bag.

bustitbigg
bustitbigg

I am a friend of Donny....I was there the day and days before the incident that lead to his arrest. I can personally attest to his involvement in the incident that they are actually punishing him for. He had no involvement in the incident. The sentence he received was atrocious..... That P.O.S. Sullivan is a true danger to society and is a free man. Unjust!

denverpeet2002
denverpeet2002

Pat Sullivan is a LOW LIFE SCUMBAG! Why Sullivan isn't locked up for the rest of his miserable life is beyond me.....he must have something pretty good on somebody and it's keeping his child molesting, meth addicted a$$ from getting the sentence he deserves. He is the WORST kind of criminal!

Bret Egan
Bret Egan

Because Donny Andrews was not part of the Ruling Class!

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Free all inmates not convicted of violent offenses, arm them, and train them to destroy fascism!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Well rev that rude and revisit.  

YoMama
YoMama

Roberto... Please seek mental help.  You are obviously cracking from years of drug induced paranoia.  It's not too late to pull your head out.  Big Brudda is undoubtedly reading your bile with growing amusement.  It's only a matter of time before No Such Agency will knock on your door, and people will wonder, "Why don't he write?"

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@YoMama You are a trifle confused:  I might be paranoid, but then the NSA would not be out to get me.  As for fascism, the United States calls itself "the land of the free", but has, since 1980, increased its rate of incarceration beyond that of any other country -- our nation's hypocrisy and injustice cry out for redress!

YoMama
YoMama

The question that begs to be asked is whether our incarceration rates are due to unjust laws, or whether they are due to bad behavior?  A person can't choose what laws to follow.  They either follow them or they go to prison.  That's their choice.  They would rather go to prison, than behave.They know that robbing that convenience store is against the law.They know what murdering that dude that “dissed them” is against the law.

If you want to get rid of laws that send people to prison, let’s start with murder, rape, child molestation, armed assault, burglary, armed robbery, and spousal abuse.There are more people in prison for those charges than there are for smoking and selling weed.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...