Colorado man gets 12 years for threatening judges in three counties

A San Luis Valley man was handed a 12-year prison sentence Wednesday after he was convicted of committing extortion, forgery, and threatening judges in Gunnison, Montrose, and Alamosa counties over two years.

Brett Andrew Nelson was convicted on 20 of 24 counts brought against him by a statewide grand jury in April 2022.

“Brett Nelson’s actions undermined the integrity of our legal system and endangered the safety of several Coloradans who were doing their job,” said State Attorney General Phil Weiser, who’s office prosecuted the case. “This conviction and sentencing advances the rule of law and protects public safety.” 

According to the indictment, starting in 2018, Nelson used anti-government extremist-like tactics, filed fraudulent documents, including powers of attorneys and default judgments against a variety of individuals including judges, prosecutors, victims, and law enforcement officers associated with cases in which he was charged as a defendant.

Judges Keri Yoder, Ashley Burgemesiter, Donald Corwin Jackson and Gunnison County attorney Lori Talbot were among those targeted. Yoder presided over a child custody case involving Nelson in Gunnison County Court. 

Talbot represented the mother of Nelson’s child in one of those cases. 

Burgemeister presided over cases involving a dog bite and misdemeanor traffic violations in Gunnison County. Jackson had presided over ten criminal cases including one involving theft and and issued parenting time orders in a domestic relations case in Alamosa County..

Nelson  was taken into custody in Pueblo  on Feb. 15. He was later transported to Gunnison County for trial.   

 During the trial last month, other evidence found that Nelson submitted fraudulent quitclaim deeds on multiple properties aiming to transfer ownership from those involved in his cases to himself. It took five hours of deliberations for the jury to return a verdict.