Charges against Black ranchers in Yoder have been dismissed

Courtesy Vern Howard
Courtney Mallery, 41, stands on his farm, Freedom Acres Ranch in rural El Paso County in this undated photo. The Mallerys are accusing their neighbors and local law enforcement of racism by intimidation, killing their livestock and making threats. Courtney and Nicole Mallery were arrested on Feb. 6, 2023 after neighbors filed felony stalking charges against them.

Update 1:19 p.m., May 11

The lawyers representing a pair of Black ranchers in the community of Yoder said Thursday that felony stalking charges against their clients have been dropped.

“Today, prosecutors and the Court dropped all charges against the Mallerys, determining they could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” read a statement from attorneys at Tyrone Glover Law. “While justice has been served today, the fight for individual, law enforcement and prosecutorial accountability are far from over.”

Responding to an email requesting confirmation of the dropped charges, DA Michael Allen’s communications director Howard Black said: “A public criminal record does not exist with respect to these defendants who is the subject of the sealed record.”

Legal mediation in the messy dispute between a family of Black ranchers and their neighbor in Yoder that captured national attention earlier this year has failed.

That’s according to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

The Yoder case — a story of back-and-forth accusations of stalking, racism and harassment stemming from a property dispute, with very little clarity over the truth — became national news as the Rocky Mountain NAACP launched an investigation.

Sheriff Joe Roybal, whose office has faced its own allegations of racism in the case, expressed his disappointment in the failure of the parties to reach an agreement.

Following that failure, Roybal released the remaining body camera footage from Sheriff’s deputies which was not previously released in the case’s review from District Attorney Michael Allen’s office.

“As those cases have reached their final disposition in court, and in the interest of transparency, it is appropriate for my office to release the remaining body-worn videos to the public,” Roybal said in the release. “It is my hope all parties involved will come to a mutual understanding and live peacefully amongst each other.”

The ranchers, Courtney and Nicole Mallery, are facing charges of felony stalking related to the dispute. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that the pair agreed to the mediation with their neighbor after they appeared in court in April on those charges.

The Mallerys are due in court Thursday after the mediation failed.