Beekeeper Blog

Beekeeper Blog CatWhisperer Sun, 11/13/2016 - 22:31

This is a blog of the prosecution of  Benjamin Gilmore, a local beekeeper whom many believe was wrongfully prosecuted and convicted for the Penny Flats fire that happened in downtown Fort Collins on October 24, 2011. He made the mistake of being associated with the Occupy Fort Collins movement, and had let them borrow a camper for their use. The Occupy Fort Collins demonstration was one block east of the Penny Flats building which was under development at the time. The discrepancies in this prosecution merit note, and it shows some of the drawbacks of prosecutions in the Eight Judicial District of Colorado:

  • It's not about justice, it's about getting a conviction.
  • It's not about truth, guilt, or innocence, it's about what you can get a jury to believe.

If anybody doesn't believe that, Google up Timothy Mastersangry

"ARSON FRAUD" in Fort Collins? Please rethink Penny Flats and don't prosecute an innocent man...

"ARSON FRAUD" in Fort Collins? Please rethink Penny Flats and don't prosecute an innocent man... CatWhisperer Sat, 05/11/2013 - 06:44

NOTE: Updated 11/13/2016

ARSON FRAUD is when someone setting fire to one's property with fraudulent intent ⇒ such as to collect insurance money. "According to Alfred Manes, the majority of property insurance crimes involve arson. One reason for this is that any evidence that a fire was started by arson is often destroyed by the fire itself." Insurance Fraud - Property Insurance

Last year, I wrote about the Penny Flats fire being a possible case of insurance arson. I'm more convinced of it now, because I worked for the plumbing sub-contractor at Penny Flats after the fire, and spoke to individuals who worked there. The original story was Insurance scapegoat for Brinkman? Why am I writing about it again? I was suspicious a while ago, BTW, (Other Suspects? Follow the money...), so this is nothing new.

What benefit could the Mr. Gilmore possibly have in burning down Penny Flats? The fantasy of making a statement for Occupy Fort Collins? Really? Please! That is a ludicrous proposition. How about we look at who benefited the most by that fire, which was Brinkman Partners and the plumbing sub-contractor (as an aside though, I recall one day waiting on my bike for the light to change on College, and I see one of the McWhinney's looking across the street at Occupy Fort Collins, with this look of absolute hatred, whilst talking on a cell phone. One never knows, when there is a handy scapegoat). Now most people would think that crazy. But why is it crazy?

It is my opinion that because of the watch that was found, the DA here has unreasonably focused on Benjamin Gilmore to the exclusion of other possible suspects or criminal theories. We have precedent for that in this jurisdiction. Tim Masters... So here are some ideas:

  • Has anybody looked into the finances of the companies that were working on site at the time of the arson?
  • Has anybody looked into the insurance payouts for Penny Flats, who got what and how much?
  • Construction site arson fires are rare in Northern Colorado. Has anybody looked into any pattern of criminal activity to find correlations between crimes and contractors.

Comments

Can you guess folks? It's the Benjamin Gilmore trial. Has he been found guilty? Has he been acquitted? Did he change his mind and plead guilty?

Why is nothing being reported on this trial? Why does there seem to be self-censorship going on at the Coloradoan with respect to this trial.

The taxpayer has a right to know the status of this case. We pay the bills here, folks, and we're not asking for a lot. Is the trial still going on? Some basic information would be helpful, and not all of us are unemployed and able to get to the court building to find out for ourselves. 

Coloradoan staff, please do your job and report the news…indecision

"What benefit could the Beekeeper possibly have in burning down Penny Flats? ... Please! That is a ludicrous proposition." Clearly you are naïve. It is not ludicrous to think that activists to burn down a fancy apartment building in order to make a statement, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Liberation_Front I lived through the 2003 San Diego fire only because I was able to evacuate in time, but I still have nightmares about that night. I have no idea who burned down the Penny Flats, but this article is nothing more than baseless speculation.

Ok, so I'll give that is is speculation, an alternate theory based on my opinion of the character of the individuals possible. There is nothing baseless about it though, because it makes NO sense that Benjamin Gilmore did this. It is portrayed that he was a member of Occupy, correct? What is that based on? Him caring a sign saying “Legalize Paragliding”? Really?

The fact is that one jury already didn't believe the DA's shtick. There were enough independent thinkers on that panel that wouldn't swallow a whole cloth story. Because there is that shred of doubt about the DA's theatrical presentation. That being that Benjamin Gilmore and Occupy could have been painted as convenient patsies for a commercial payout arson, and Benjamin was a convenient scapegoat that kind of threw himself into the lions mouth.

What's the idea that he did it based on?

  • His watch was found at the site, but it can't be proved via physical evidence that he dropped it there.
  • He had burns on his hands that can't be tied to the fire with direct evidence.
  • He had a sign at Occupy Fort Collins NOT RELATED TO ANYTHING about Occupy.
  • He spoke at the City Council meeting after the fire.

In Cliff Riedel's mind, that indicates arson. In the mind of others in the community, that's not enough. There is a history here in this Judicial District of prosecutorial tunnel vision and misconduct that can't be disregarded. Our current DA is part and parcel of that 'Olde Schoole'. This could be exactly what I say, or it could just as well be contractor negligence, or an accident of the homeless, as well as it could be Benjamin Gilmore.

Look at it this way, there is ONLY ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE that ties him to the fire, and that is the watch. It could have gotten to the fire in many ways other than on the person of Mr. Gilmore. Without that watch, the prosecution's case stands on nothing but the FANTASIES OF A STORYTELLER! That's my problem with it…

I have to say that from my experience with both DA's Larry Abrahamson and Cliff Riedel, that these two could not find the truth on anything, even if someone used a nail gun to attach the truth to their foreheads. A good example are the many requests to support the claims made by DA Larry Abrahamson that a broad spectrum antibiotic was to treat a young girl for heat stroke. I guess it is above the investigative skills of these two idiot to find documentation that antibiotics do no good for the treatment of heat stroke, and heat stroke is not that hard to diagnose. The outright lies made by DA Larry Abrahamson just proves that DA Larry Abrahamson is an idiot. Then if you read the transcripts to the case, it becomes clear that 8th Judicial District Attorney Investigator, Elliot Phelps is just plain incompetent. How low the prosecutors will go to gain a conviction or get someone to take a plea deal is criminal. We should expect more competence from those who work for us, and they should find the truth, which they have not much since Blair and Gilmore paved the was for the use of perjury to be a stepping stone to gain a seat on the bench of the 8th Judicial District Courts. The DA's Office is full of DIRT BAGS, like David Vandenberg, Emily Humphrey, Andy Lewis, Nick Cummins, and others. From the case I am talking about disgraced Judge Gilmore, allowed now Judge Thomas Lynch to use perjury to gain a conviction. Thomas Lynch should join the club of disgraced Judges Blair and Gilmore. These are truly to many DIRT BAGS on the bench in the 8th Judicial District.

You've already done more work than the DA's office, Mr. Reaud. 

This line of critical thinking is definitely outside the box, and desirable when investigating suspects. The People (citizens, not the government representing the people) deserve better than narrow focus to the point of tunnel vision. Wrongful prosecutions are not victories.

Re-trial of Ben Gilmore for this fire?  The DA shouldn't get do-overs - the jury rests.

Looks bad for Mr. Gilmore

Looks bad for Mr. Gilmore CatWhisperer Sat, 01/21/2012 - 09:53

But that is what the preliminary hearing is all about, showing that there is enough evidence to bring things to trial. Obviously, there is. Convictions, however, don't occur at preliminary hearings, and those hearings are biased predominantly for the prosecution. There not much defense counsel input into them.

Looking at what was reported on the Coloradoan story quoted below, the most damaging piece of evidence is the watch. How did the watch get to be in the area? I won't get into conjecture on that one point, because that is a crucial piece of evidence. Kind of like homie's broken hand that didn't hit nobody. Some thoughts on everything else though:

  • The burns are probably explainable. One possible reason is manufacturing charcoal.
  • There's any numerous reasons for having a bandage on the hand.
  • Was there clothing with accelerant smell on them or evidence of combustion. Some forensic chemical analysis of clothing similar to what they do when they test for gunshot residue.
  • There are thousands of black hoods in the Fort Collins area. The problem I have with this piece of video evidence is resolution. The other problem is contrast. Try the experiment at home. After midnight take a video of your kid or significant other half way down the block in a black hoodie. What do you get? I haven't tried this myself, BTW, but will tonight. I'll post the results when I can.
  • Whatever happened to the "homeless individuals"? That theory appears to have slipped quietly under the water like a submarine. Remember what I've said about insurance companies not paying without a suspect/conviction.
  • Motive still comes to mind. Or for that matter instability. The sign at the Occupy gathering "Legalize Paragliding" still tweaks me.

Taken in total, though yes, a jury needs to decide. Saying that, I would sincerely ask Mr. Gilmore to look into himself, judge, and be a man. If you did it, spare your wife, family, loved ones, supporters, and the taxpayer a bunch of grief. If you did it own up.

If you can honestly take that look and say “no, I didn't do it”, then fight like an animal. Remember though, it's not about guilt or innocence, but rather about what you can convince a jury to believe.

Coloradoan Story: Investigators say at time of his arrest Penny Flats fire suspect had 'blistering, peeling' wounds
Corresponding story: Evidence linking Fort Collins fire to activist detailed (not quoted)
Author: Robert Allen
Quote (1/21/2012 Updated story):

 A judge today bound over for trial all seven charges - including attempted murder and arson - against Benjamin David Gilmore in the case of the Oct. 24 Penny Flats fire.

The lead Fort Collins police detective investigating the fire testified in today's evidentiary hearing that when suspect Benjamin David Gilmore was arrested, he had blistering, peeling wounds on his hand and foot.

Gilmore was arrested after investigators found a watch engraved with his name at the downtown Fort Collins fire scene, according to Detective Mike Averch.

After that, police began to watch Gilmore and saw him testify at a Fort Collins City Council meeting wearing black gloves and on another occasion with a bandage on his hand.

Gilmore, 30, a local beekeeper and Occupy Fort Collins activist, was arrested Nov. 4 on arson charges.

Benjamin Gilmore was taken into custody near Picnic Rock, according to police testimony. Following his arrest, authorities searched Gilmore's vehicle and found a black hooded sweatshirt, fire wood, a gas can, start sticks and gauze with bodily secretions on it, according to police testimony.

This month, the Larimer County District Attorney's Office added a second arson count, a second criminal mischief count and two attempted first-degree murder charges to the original arson charge in the case.

Earlier during today's preliminary hearing, prosecutors showed a cell phone video of the fire shot by a third-floor Penny Flats resident who reported seeing a man wearing a black hoodie and green pants running from the scene, according to prosecutors.

Gilmore was an early supporter of Occupy Fort Collins, which had set up camp a block away from where the fire burned. Days before his arrest, he addressed City Council asking the city to be more accommodating to the movement.

Gilmore faces a total of seven counts, all felonies. The attempted murder counts, class 2 felonies, carry sentences on conviction of eight to 24 years in prison. The two arson and two criminal mischief counts are class 3 felonies, each with possible penalties of four to 12 years in prison.

 

Observe Eighth Judicial District Modus Operandi

Observe Eighth Judicial District Modus Operandi CatWhisperer Tue, 01/17/2012 - 16:33

With respect to the Coloradoan story quoted below, I can honestly say, from very personal experience, that this is the standard modus operandi in this Eighth Judicial District of Colorado. Stop a second, and step back. Look at the forest, instead of the trees in front of your face.  What year is this? 2012, duh. What is this year? Umm. An election year. Pray tell, who is term limited this year? Head scratching? Yes, well I want y'all to think, deep and well about this because if you DON'T pay attention, you, dear electorate, will be played like a cheap violin, and might I venture to say, yet again.

What my next question would be is: Has Mr. Gilmore given notice that he is taking it to trial or has he refused a plea. When my incident with the Larimer County employee, related in posts below this one, occurred and I responded to criminal charges with a lawsuit against the county employee, they operated in the same fashion.

What is really going on here? What I mention above is hypothesis trying to explain known data. But please recall a certain individual that was wrongfully convicted that cost to the county probably $14,000,000 (no accounting on that exactly, yet). Watch out we don't repeat the same here to forward somebody's career via the proxy of a sacrificial victim… That's a topic to be covered in the Elections 2012 section though.

Coloradoan Story: Attempted murder added to Occupy activist's charges in Penny Flats fire case
Author: Robert Allen
Quote:

A Fort Collins beekeeper and Occupy activist, accused of starting a fire causing $10 million in damage to an Old Town building complex, now faces two additional charges of attempted first-degree murder.

Benjamin David Gilmore, 29, an outspoken Occupy Fort Collins activist, remains out on a $250,000 bond after he was arrested Nov. 4.

The Larimer County District Attorney's Office has since added a second arson count, a second criminal mischief count and the two murder charges. Officials have released limited information regarding Gilmore's arrest because all supporting documents have been sealed by court order.

Prosecutors are expected to reveal evidence against Gilmore at a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

Gilmore is suspected of starting the Oct. 24 fire that destroyed the four-story Mason Street Flats building under construction at 311 Mason St. and damaged the next-door Penny Flats, a residential and mixed-use retail building. He has declined media requests for interviews, and his attorney has said he maintains his innocence.

Gilmore, a registered Republican, was an early supporter of Occupy Fort Collins, which had set up camp a block away from where the fire burned. Days before his arrest, he addressed City Council asking the city to be more accommodating to the movement.

Gilmore faces a total of seven counts, all felonies. The attempted murder counts, class 2 felonies, carry sentences on conviction of eight to 24 years in prison. The two arson and two criminal mischief counts are class 3 felonies, each with possible penalties of four to 12 years in prison.

Insurance scapegoat for Brinkman?

Insurance scapegoat for Brinkman? CatWhisperer Thu, 12/22/2011 - 08:37

NOTE: Updated 11/13/2016

An interesting development in the case of Mr. Benjamin Gilmore. First off, if you don't believe he did it, please join the Facebook account supporting him, https://www.facebook.com/beekeeperjustice.

At first I thought he did, due to the sign he held at one of the Coloradoan photo shoots. But then other things came to light that caused me to change my mind:

  • There have been allegations of homeless individuals sleeping in the area where the fire was burned.
  • One report stated that a construction worker told the homeless individuals that they could sleep there.
  • Homeless individuals were reported as acting suspiciously after the incident at the Occupy Fort Collins gathering.
  • One report from Denver has a commentator stating that: "It's sexier to blame this guy than to have homeless individuals being accused". That I think came from a Denver Post news reporter.

Then we come to the idea that is bothering me. Brinkman Partners was the general contractor for the project. Occupy Fort Collins was making much noise a block away, on the site of the tire store, which was also slated for redevelopment.  Insurance companies don't pay on arson claims unless there is a suspect in custody and a conviction occurs! Think folks... A man, happily married, kid on the way (if I remember correctly) with a thriving business just up and decides one day to become an arsonist and burn down a building under construction. How likely is the scenario? Is this the normal modus operandi of an arsonist?

Here's a second idea. Is anybody interested in the business property of Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore? Has there been any offers to buy up the lot prior to this arson? So my question to you, people of Fort Collins is:  Did Benjamin Gilmore really do this crime or is this a massive case of "Arson Fraud", to the tune of $10,000,000?

Burning The Beekeeper - The Conviction of Benjamin Gilmore

Comments

There are individuals who stood to profit from this fire. My belief is that the Occupy protest provided a very good smoke screen for an insurance payout arson scam here in town, knowing that the authorities would be looking at Occupy protesters, and not following the train of money and motive.

Why would a pacifist commit arson? What benefit was there to Mr. Gilmore in burning down Penny Flats? What benefit did that arson have for others? I can't name names, because it's all conjecture and suspicion on my part, but I damn sure hope that this is not another Tim Masters fiasco that will cost the local taxpayer MILLIONS! AGAIN!

I don't know who lit the fire.

I know that a high-profile building project burned and spread to an adjacent occupied building and resulted in much damage.

I really don't care about Brinkman's financial losses.

I know that a suspect is in jail with an unreasonable bond.

I know that people are presumed guilty without supporting evidence. 

I know that 8th JD prosecutors prevail at trial anyway and obtain plea bargains through coercion and threats.

I don't know Mr. Gilmore but he deserves for truth and justice to prevail. 

Looks as though if you comment in a sane and thoughtful manner the trolls vote you down mercilessly.  When I heard about what was being done to Ben I KNEW it was all lies; he  would NEVER do such a thing.  Unfortunately, this is Fort Collins where they railroaded Tim Masters, Stacy Lynne and God only knows how many others.  The city and county just disgust and appall me.  The whole government, court system, power structure there needs to be utterly demolished.

My observations from observing much of this trial convinced me the DA had other suspects they should have considered. The smoking gun (watch at the scene) was not enough to convict Mr. Gilmore because there were plausible scenarios to consider that were not. Mr. Gilmore testified consistently, calmly, and credibly.

Ms. Humphries on the other hand, worked overtime to stir up sympathy of the victims and thus, the jury.  This tactic nicely overrides the lack of evidence. Dramatic re-enactment speculating how the fire started was ridiculous considering Mr. Gilmore has one arm and could not have climbed a two-story wall with a gas can. There were many accusations that were unsubstantiated and half the jury understood this.

For all we know, spontaneous combustion, lightening, or a Molotov cocktail hurled by whoever left their bike helmet and Sterno can near the scene could have ignited the fire.

A motions hearing yesterday Dec 14 resulted in the following settings:

Trial is set to start Sept 16 and run 5 days a week for up to 4 weeks. Pretrial conference August 12, 9 am.

Norm Townsend is representing Ben, with cooperation of others in the PD office (attorneys Esser and Lowry and the PD investigator).

Justice would be to dismiss charges against Mr. Gilmore and seek out the other suspects that probably left the area by now. The guy who threatened to light the fire and then claimed he did it... Might be a good place to start.  Actually heard that he was allowed to leave the state while on probation here, and now can't be found. I hope our system works better than that, but who from probation would clarify it?

What have taxpayers already paid to prosecute Mr Gilmore? Admit defeat and move on, Ms. Humphries. You did not prove your case.