A Cañon City councilman, who along with his friend was accused of beating up an elderly couple outside a wine-tasting event last year, was sentenced to two years of probation for harassment Tuesday.
Michael “Colby” Katchmar, 55, will also perform 300 hours of community service and write a court-approved letter of apology for his role in an alcohol-fueled brawl that apparently began when another wine-tasting attendee, 66-year-old Margene Martin, complained to him about the city’s mosquito control program and called Katchmar a “lousy politician.”
Martin ended up with a black eye and a broken hip. Her husband, 71-year-old Robert Martin, suffered facial injuries during the ensuing altercation, Colorado Springs’ News13 reported.
Katchmar’s friend, Thomas Lockhart, pleaded guilty to assaulting the Martins and was also given probation. Katchmar went to trial on the charges in December and was found not guilty of assault, but guilty of harassment.
Despite the verdict, a judge on Tuesday said he held Katchmar “primarily responsible” for the fight that ended with the Martins being transported to the hospital.
“[N]ot guilty doesn’t mean innocent,” Judge David Thorson said. “Your behavior set into motion a whole chain of events. The participants in this case were far more intoxicated than they were willing to admit. Alcohol played a large role in what happened. You exercised poor judgment. I hold you primarily responsible.”
During his trial, Katchmar admitted to being “buzzed” on alcohol when Martin began bugging him at the wine tasting, the Cañon City Daily Record reported. The argument escalated and the Martins said Katchmar called them names, used profanity and blocked their exit when they tried to leave the restaurant.
Katchmar and Lockhart told police that the elderly couple started the physical fight by attacking them on the sidewalk, according to news reports. But Robert Martin told police he believed Katchmar and Lockhart “would have killed them” if the restaurant manager hadn’t stepped in and broken it up.
During his sentencing, Katchmar apologized and said he’d stopped drinking since the incident. His lawyer told the judge Katchmar has been through a lot, even though he’d been found not guilty of assault.
“His business has been vandalized and he’s been accused of attacking old ladies,” attorney Roger Bruce Larson said.
News13 reported that Katchmar, who remains on city council, has the support of other council members.
Thorson has yet to decide whether to order Katchmar to pay restitution to the Martins, the station reported. Katchmar is also required to stay away from the couple through his probationary period.
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