Former deputy coroner faces 15 years

Carter Lord found guilty of embezzlement, forgery

By Ryan Boldrey

Former Douglas County Deputy Coroner Carter Lord has been found guilty of embezzlement and forgery, crimes he committed while serving the county.

In October 2012, the criminal justice division of the Colorado Attorney General's Office filed a complaint against Lord accusing him of embezzling firearms from the Douglas County Coroner's Office that had been collected as evidence.

An ensuing investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation uncovered the fact that three guns which had been taken as evidence by the coroner's office following suicides investigated by the office had gone missing.

"In four instances, the next of kin released the guns to the Douglas County Coroner's Office, and those weapons should have been destroyed," a news release from the Attorney General's Office states. "Four guns were released to Lord for destruction; however, only one of the four guns was actually destroyed.

"Lord resold one of the guns, and kept two of the others to sell at a store he owns called The Stock Shop, in Sedalia. Carter Lord filed falsified documents with the Douglas County Coroner's Office showing that the guns had been destroyed."

Lord pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case was presented to a Douglas County jury on Dec. 17 and 18. The jury returned with guilty verdicts on one count of embezzlement and two counts of forgery on Dec. 19.

Lord, who was also arrested on a DUI charge in March near Sedalia, could face up to three years for the embezzlement count and up to six years on each count of forgery. He will be sentenced on Feb. 24, 2014.

"We appreciate the thoughtful work of the jury, and believe their verdict represents a just outcome," said Attorney General John Suthers. "We also thank our partners at the CBI for conducting a very thorough and professional investigation."

The first of the weapons was discovered missing from the coroner's office in 2012 by Coroner Lora Thomas, who had defeated Lord in the 2010 Republican primary.

Once Thomas saw there was a weapon unaccounted for, she turned the case over to authorities. As Lord, who served under former Coroner Wes Riber, was a suspect in the investigation, and Sheriff David A. Weaver had endorsed Lord's candidacy against Thomas, the sheriff's office passed the investigation on to the CBI.

"The reason I ran for this office was because I knew about the mismanagement here," Thomas told Colorado Community Media in a prior interview regarding the case. "I inherited a situation here. I've been here for about two years and it's a totally different environment. We are accountable, professional and efficient."

Thomas is a Republican candidate for Douglas County Sheriff and is running against Weaver's undersheriff, Tony Spurlock, a fellow Republican, as well as Castle Rock Police Cmdr. John Anderson, also a Republican. The Republican primary is slated for June 2014 and the general election will be November 2014.

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