Jan 302003
Authors: Patrick Crossland

The family of Jason Peder Clausen, the 22-year-old arrested in connection with the death of Lacy Miller, said they are “shocked and devastated” in an indirect statement made by Jason Clausen’s attorney, Joseph “Andy” Gavaldon, after Clausen’s first live appearance before the judge.

Gavaldon said when information of Miller’s abduction was disclosed, the Clausen family prayers were with Miller’s family and for her safe return. Galvaldon said the recent news confirming her death increases feelings the Clausen family has for Miller’s family.

He said the Clausen family loves and supports their son and asked that their privacy be respected as they deal with this issue.

Clausen has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of University of Northern Colorado student Miller. Miller disappeared on Jan. 18 after dropping a friend off from a party. Her car was found near her parents’ Fort Collins home. Clausen was arrested in connection with her disappearance Jan. 22 and Miller’s body was found Sunday.

Clausen’s arraignment was held Monday, where he was notified of being charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree kidnapping.

Christine Meyer, a friend of Clausen, said she knew a kind and respectful Clausen.

“The Jason I know is an awesome guy; he’d never disrespect women,” Meyer said.

Meyer, who was a classmate of his at a local private school, said news that Clausen has been charged with Miller’s abduction and murder is a shock.

“It’s extremely surprising,” she said. “I still don’t believe it, it’s such a shock. It’s out of the ordinary of the Jason I know.”

Meyer, who was present at Clausen’s arraignment Monday, said she was there to support both sides.

“I think it’s a sad story. The whole situation is horrible,” Meyer said.

Meyer said she is not making any assumptions about whether Clausen is innocent or guilty.

“In America, I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty,” she said. “I’m waiting for that.”

An attorney for the Fort Collins Coloradoan spoke on behalf of loosening the limitations on pre-trial information to the public.

Judge James H. Hiatt denied the request to make public certain information regarding the trial and is not permitting the use of cameras in the courtroom.

“This is not a library; this is a courtroom. We are working on this case,” he said. He said certain files may be held, but (the court), “would not abuse that.”

Hiatt suggested the issue be brought up at a later time, saying, “things continue forever, things change and the investigation continues,” indicating he might consider the request at a later date.

His face stern and body near motionless, Clausen sat as his attorneys discussed his right to have the preliminary hearing farther off than 30 days.

Responding only, “yes, sir,” or “no, sir,” Clausen answered the judge, who ensured the decision to have the hearing farther off than thirty days was in fact made by Clausen.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 26, at 9 a.m. in the Larimer County Courthouse.

Clausen is being held without bond at the Larimer County Detention Center.

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