Cop Gets Warning in Brents Case

April 14 2005, 1:44 PM

Accused Capitol Hill rapist Brent J. Brents was ordered to stand trial in Arapahoe county yesterday on charges that he molested an eight year old boy. This is the case where due to either miscommunications between or negligence by law enforcement personnel, an arrest warrant for Brents was never signed. Had the warrant been signed and executed, Brents would not have been at large and there would not have been any Denver crime spree. The Aurora officer who failed to respond to the request to sign the warrant was Del Matticks. A letter of reprimand now resides in his personnel file. It is not expected to carry much weight, however, because it is not a formal discipline. Also, Matticks is considered "a rising star" in the department.

The only problem during his tenure was the miscommunication incident, in which he didn't follow through with the district attorney's office after submitting the case for processing, Jones said.

The failure was serious enough that former Police Chief Ricky Bennett was demoted and City Manager Ron Miller and Deputy City Manager Frank Ragan were suspended without pay. So those with oversight paid a far more serious price than the Matticks. In binding Brents over for trial, the Court found that Brents' prior recod, his admissions to the officer and the young boy's statement were enough to establish probable cause. That means it was enough for an arrest warrant. The standards for both are "probable cause" - a very low threshold that essentially means there is reason to believe a crime was committed by the suspect. Given the consequences of the officer's failure to respond to emails and phone calls requesting his action on the arrest warrant, one has to question whether a letter that only remains in his file for a year and has no disciplinary status is sufficient.

And while charges were deemed necessary within a week, it took more than a month to get the lead investigator's final signature, as a series of botched e-mails and phone calls ensued between the DA's office and police.