Mar 262003
Authors: Patrick Crossland

Andy Gavaldon stood with his arm around his client, 22 year-old Jason Peder Clausen, who responded, “Yes, sir,” or “No, sir,” to the judge’s questions concerning his decision to withdraw the request for a preliminary hearing.

His decision means the next time Clausen appears in court, he will enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

Gavaldon is defending Clausen, who has been charged with first-degree murder and the second-degree kidnapping of Lacy Jo Miller between Jan. 18 and Jan. 21.

“I think it’s better this way,” said Miller’s mother, Wendy Cohen. “Next week we’ll just know.”

Clausen also waived any kind of bond hearing, so he will not be released on bond before the plea arraignment.

Twenty-year-old Miller was last seen at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 18 after dropping a friend off at her apartment in Rams Village. Miller was reported missing when she didn’t return to her parents’ home by 6:30 a.m. the following morning. Her car was found parked and locked near her parents’ home. Clausen was arrested Jan. 22 in connection with her disappearance. Miller’s body was found in northern Fort Collins on Jan. 25.

Cohen, who was present during Wednesday’s proceeding, said she was there in support of her daughter.

“I’m here to honor Lacy and support those who worked hard to find her,” she said.

Cohen saw Clausen for the first time Wednesday and she said it was difficult.

“It was hard, my heart was pounding,” she said. “He might have been the last person to have seen my daughter.”

Cohen said she held no animosity towards Clausen’s parents.

Sarah Cameron, 23 a schoolmate of Clausen, expressed dissatisfaction with the way Clausen has been presented to the public. She said the information has been presented as if he is guilty.

“If they knew him, they’d have a different view of this case,” she said. “He completely respects women and friendships in general.”

She said she has spoken with Clausen since the charges were presented, and said he is “pretty much the same person,” and said he has told her he is innocent.

In regards to police paraphernalia owned by Clausen, Cameron said it is irrelevant.

She said because of his two-year history as a police scout, he’d “of course” possess police paraphernalia.

“He never used them in any way, they were just there,” she said. “They keep throwing that in his face.”

She said Clausen never mentioned Miller and he had no association with her.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan presented a plea to allow expanded media coverage of future proceedings, which will be revisited the next time Clausen appears in court, after having been considered by both the prosecuting attorney and the defending attorney.

“I think it would help him and everybody else,” Cameron said. “It gives them a peace of mind.”

Clausen will appear in court again on April 3 at 9:30 a.m., at the Larimer County Courthouse.

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