Former businessman and alleged drug dealer and gun thief Mark Thayn received a mixed bag of news during a series of court hearings regarding several of the cases against him on Tuesday. Seventh District Judge Don Torgerson set trial dates for Dec. 19 and Feb. 8. The first involves allegations Thayn was in possession of a sellable amount of methamphetamine and other contraband following an arrest earlier this year.
The second trial regards allegations he stole – through theft by deception – 11 firearms from the National Wildlife Turkey Federation, which shipped the guns to him as prizes in a banquet Thayn was allegedly supposed to organize.
The lengthy hearing began with a request for bail defense attorney Steve Russell made, saying Thayn is “losing everything bit by bit.” He noted Thayn has been in custody for 77 days as of Tuesday, Nov. 6, and that he wanted out to secure his assets.
Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald opposed lifting the no-bail hold on Thayn, saying Thayn is in jail on probation violations, he’s already pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his probation, and that he has “lots of cases pending. And we believe he is deeply involved in the drug world.”
Thayn smiled without mirth at the allegation.
Torgerson delayed making his decision until after hearing testimony in a preliminary hearing on the gun theft charges. When it concluded, Torgerson ruled Thayn would face trial in the case. But he also agreed to set a reasonable bail amount – but only on the gun case; Thayn still has no-bail holds on his other cases and remains in jail.
Grand County Sheriff’s investigator Nathan Whitney testified he was assigned to investigate the gun thefts after an executive with the National Wildlife Turkey Federation reported them stolen after trying to get Thayn to return the weapons – valued at more than $5,000 – for months.
Whitney also said he interviewed people associated with Thayn, whom he never could find until he was arrested in August in a separate matter. The weapons were never found, but Thayn admitted he possessed them for months.
He said Thayn blamed the thefts on his ex-wife, as well as a woman who sometimes lived in his home.
Thayn took the stand and blamed the woman, Bree Dooley, who allegedly was seen with one of Thayn’s personal shotguns after the guns went missing. He also said he inventoried the guns monthly because he was worried about them getting stolen. He never reported the alleged theft of the NWTF or his personal firearms, according to Whitney.
Two BB guns that were in addition to the 11 firearms the NWTF sent Thayn also are missing. Thayn’s daughter said Thayn gave her two BB guns for her two children last Christmas Eve, but she turned the guns over to the sheriff’s office, saying she believed her father stole them, said Whitney.
Thayn said he sold the same brand of BB gun at his former bow shop and had no idea BB guns were part of the package sent from the turkey federation, prompting Fitzgerald on cross examination to ask him how he missed them during his monthly inventory.
“I only inventoried the expensive ones,” said Thayn.
Torgerson found Fitzgerald provided a sufficient amount of evidence to bind over Thayn for trial.
Finally, Torgerson heard arguments on whether Thayn should be sent to prison for his probation violations.
“He’s had multiple felonies racked up in a short period of time,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s clear drugs are involved. Our information is, he’s dealing drugs and ruining the lives of Bree Dooley and other females.”
Fitzgerald said Thayn’s behavior has been “notoriously out of control,” and added the department of Parole and Probation recommended he be sent to prison because Thayn cannot be supervised.
Defense attorneys Russell and Craig Halls, who is representing Thayn on other cases, asked Torgerson not to send Thayn to prison, arguing he can’t be a danger to the community since he’s locked up, and it would be easier from a logistical perspective to keep him in Grand County while his trials proceed.
Torgerson revoked and then reinstated Thayn’s probation, sentencing him to 140 days in jail with credit for the 77 days he’s been in jail to date.