- Associated Press - Monday, February 16, 2015

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - A Boulder County District Court judge has ordered a detective involved in the prosecution of accused murderer Abel Lujan to wear earplugs or headphones while defense attorneys examine evidence crucial to their defense at the Longmont Police Department because the detective will have access to both sides of the case.

Judge Andrew Macdonald also told Det. Ed Tinkum not to tell prosecutors about anything he witnesses while defense attorneys are examining evidence in an effort to ease defense attorney John Gifford’s fears that police presence could be used to the advantage of prosecutors.

Tinkum is also working with prosecutors and the judge is worried about a possible mistrial.

Lujan, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the beating and strangulation of Bernadine Frost, whose body was found in a Longmont alley in 1999.

The defense attorney asked the judge to allow his team to view evidence out of the presence of police, saying Tinkum might share information about the defense’s strategy with prosecutors.



Prosecutor Adrian Van Nice, who suggested the ear plugs, said it was important for police to be present while evidence was examined to make sure it wasn’t compromised and hurt the prosecution’s case. The case involves about 500 pieces of evidence, the Longmont Times-Call reported (https://tinyurl.com/l3yv8rr).

Frost’s body was discovered lying on her back in the snow with a 32-ounce beer bottle in her hand. An investigation determined that her body appeared to have been staged after her death.

An autopsy revealed Frost died from strangulation, but also suffered internal injuries that would have proved fatal. Investigators said they originally did not have enough evidence to arrest Lujan and the case was put on hold. It was reopened in 2011, and police arrested Lujan in 2013.

Lujan is due back in court March 5 for a motions hearing. His trial is scheduled to begin March 9.

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Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/

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