Newmiller Gets 31 Years for Stabbing, But Questions Remain

May 25, 2006

Today, in a hearing at El Paso County Combined Court, convicted second-degree murderer Todd Newmiller received 31 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of Anthony Madril. The stabbing, a single knife wound which penetrated Madril's ribs and pierced through both of his ventricles, occurred the night of November 20, 2004, during a confrontation down the street from the Appaloosa strip club, just east of Powers. The hearing was presided over by El Paso County Chief Justice Gilbert A. Martinez.

The sentencing hearing began with the defense making a motion for a new trial. The motion, and many of the successive defense testimonies, concerned Brad Orgill, a witness in the trial. Orgill allegedly brawled heavily with Madril during the melee in which Madril was fatally stabbed. The retrial motion's foundation was a sexual assault allegation against Orgill during the Newmiller trial.

Orgill was under suspicion for Madril's stabbing initially, but was granted immunity by the District Attorney's office in exchange for testimony against Newmiller. This evidence proved particularly damning against Newmiller's case. If the charges against Orgill had been proven, Orgill would have lost his DA immunity and likely appeared alongside Newmiller at the defense table, but the motion, however, was ultimately denied on grounds that the allegations would not have demonstrably affected the jurors' decision.

A tissue box was placed on the lectern, and prosecuting witnesses began testimony. Nearly all of the witnesses asked that Newmiller receive the maximum sentence: 48 years. Bonnie Madril, the victim's mother, went first, setting the tone for many of the following testimonies, characterizing Anthony Madril as a friend to everyone he met, a good kid with past troubles slowly disappearing, and an aspiring missionary. Many speakers and attendees wore "In Loving Memory" shirts depicting Madril's smiling face. At one point, Bonnie asked Todd Newmiller to admit what he had done, a sentiment many of her friends and family would repeat.

The melancholy of Michael Moreno, Anthony Madril's father, was palpable — "I used to be happy-go-lucky," he told the judge. "Now it's just memories." His was the only statement on the part of the prosecution that didn't ask specifically that Todd receive the maximum sentence, instead asking Martinez to "please have compassion for our family."

Joe Madril, Anthony's younger brother, called Madril the "best brother you could ask for in the world" — Anthony's family's love and sorrow became only too clear when a majority of the Madril family's speakers made use of the available tissues, often pausing to regain their composure. Arlene Vargos was particularly damning of Newmiller, saying that Madril's memory would best be served by Newmiller "sitting in prison for as long as possible."

Todd Newmiller took a deep breath, awaiting the next onslaught. One witness suggested he was leading a double life — "Jekyll and Hyde, maybe," an accusation related to Todd's previous arrests for DUI and eluding the police, as well as his frequency at the Appaloosa, which contrast sharply with his love of philosophy, religious studies, and his family.

To many, a lingering question remains: Did the police get the right guy? The defense certainly didn't think so, repeatedly coming back to the immunity deal given Brad Orgill by the DA's office. Edith Disler, a colleague of Todd's father Bill, said that the DA's office was out to get "a guilty verdict; they did not get the guilty man." Jackson Niday, a family friend, echoed her statement, saying that were he in the Madril family's situation, he would like an eye for an eye as well, but that he "would want the right eye." Many friends of Todd and his parents spoke on his behalf, many of them staffers at the Air Force Academy, where Todd's father Bill works as an English teacher.

This background was reflected in the elder Newmiller's eloquent speech, in which he wished he were "Shakespeare or a Cervantes" to more articulately express his sorrow, love, pride, and frustration. He argued that a prosecuting witness, a serologist, had perjured herself and been impeached during the trial, testimony stricken, but had been welcomed to sit with the District Attorney's table and provide advice for cross-examination. In this case, Bill said, "both the lie and the liar were embraced."

Statements by both attorneys followed, but Todd Newmiller had the last word himself, a hastily-written missive made necessary by the police's refusal to let him transport his prepared statement from CJC. Escorted to the podium in hand and ankle cuffs, Newmiller expressed sympathy for the Madril family and his "deep and inexpressible sadness" at their loss and at the trial's outcome. He thanked his family, and told the story of his first squirrel-hunting trip, in which he had cried at seeing his quarry's still body. "That was the first and last time," he professed, "I ever killed an animal larger than an insect."

When Martinez finally handed down his sentence, the courtroom was silent, immobile. The sentence, approaching neither the minimum nor maximum possible for the charge, was almost guaranteed to please no one. Bonnie Madril had no comment, while Gloria Newmiller, Todd's mother, called it a "disappointment."

The 31 year sentence, intended to bring a resolution to the protracted grief of the Madril family, looks to be just the beginning: Todd Newmiller had not even left the stand before his lawyers began the appeal process. The gravity of the sentence precluded Judge Martinez from offering an appeal bond, and now, Todd Newmiller sits in jail, thinking, writing, waiting.

Full disclosure: Craig Richardson, a close friend of Todd Newmiller who testified at both the trial and the sentence hearing, sells ads for the High Plains Messenger and put us in contact with Todd's parents, through whom (and whose attorneys) we received police documents relating to the trial. We were very reluctant to follow this case because of the potential conflict of interests, but Rich Tosches' Denver Post column, as well as other media outlets' coverage, have convinced us that it would be a disservice to both families involved to pretend the case did not exist. We are investigating the case thoroughly and will continue to do so, and will present our findings at a later juncture. We have striven to maintain high standards of journalistic integrity, and have not at this time come to any conclusion as to whether Todd is innocent or guilty. What we can say we know so far is that Anthony Madril was stabbed in the heart, that there were at least two knives at the crime scene, that some evidence substantiates Todd's guilt, and that much of the evidence directly contradicts it. To many, it seems that "conflict of interest" has become synonymous with "digging too deep," and we disagree wholeheartedly: Journalism, like so many other fields, is in essence a search for the truth. It is our belief that the truth often requires not simply passive observation, but active investigation. The trial has proven an interesting case itself, and the sentence hearing provides a convenient outline of both the court's findings and the Newmillers' objections. We urge you to share any concerns or comments you might have, and have provided a comment section at the bottom of the article for this purpose. Stay tuned, as we break important news on this case in the next few days.

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While I appreciate your "full disclosure" statement at the end of your article, I would caution you, much as Judge Martinez cautioned some of those who came to speak for Mr. Newmiller. For those that did not sit through the jury trial IN IT'S ENTIRETY, to have the "gumption" to stand and criticize the jury's decision, the court's ruling or the prosecution's case without having all the facts, is simply wrong. I think that if you had all the evidence in your possession, and not just the rhetoric of Mr. Newmiller's family members and defense attorneys, there might not be so many questions regarding the guilt of Mr. Newmiller.

I understand your point, but you're misinterpreting: I am in possession of 1500 pages of police discovery documents. These are not a fabrication; they are the results of a huge police investigation, one which I might add was not even remotely complete before the elimination of the original prime suspect. If I have been irresponsible in saying there exist doubts, it is because I entertain a hindsight the DA's office chose to forfeit.

To Judge Martinez's comments, I reply in my own defense: to make truth endemic is to devalue the nature of the judicial process. If neither the jury nor I were present at the actual event, but both have access to the same documentation as the jury, how is either one of us more qualified than the other to determine the truth? Is it because their logic is privilege to sanction? I'm sure you can spot a self-contradiction when you see one.

But please, I beg you stick around for more. And thanks for reading and offering an opinion to consider. Part of the point of this article is that a full discourse shouldn't be capable of mutating or mitigating truth. A dead man's justice and a living man's fate are the stakes, and it offends me that Justice Martinez chose to use his authority to lambast the concerned, especially when his logic can be easily countered with an reductio ad absurdum, friend of the court.

Once again, do not insult the judicial system with reports from "other" media outlets (Rich Touches) Denver Post, to bias your opinion on this case. It is obvious that he was influneced by the "sad" story of the Newmillers. There is also an Extremly sad story on the Madrils side. I was there through the whole trial, I have seen the pictures of my nephew laying lifeless and bloody on the ground. I heard the testimony of Joel Newmiller who said that Todd got in the Jeep and said I slashed a tire.. and I stabbed one of them and then who later said that he lied because he didnt think "it would be an issue". Wouldnt that be considered pergury??? I have heard it all from their point of view and believe none. If you review the documents in this case, Im sure that you will also come to the conclusion that Anthony did not stab himself, that his blood was found on Mr. Newmillers knife, and that the only accurate statements were given by persons that were sober or semi- sober that night... this is(I am sure) why the jury came back with a guilty verdict! The forensic evidence proves this also.

he did it you know he did!

he did it you know he did!

There is an indepth discussion with participants from both sides of the story at

NonProphet's blog

1) Whose knife was used in the stabbing?
2) Was Mr. Newmiller carrying a knife at all times, or only when visiting the shady side of the Springs?
3) For either family to testify as to the fine moral character of either the defendant or the victim is a bit disingenuous given the venue they were both frequenting when the fight broke out.
4) Orgill, the fellow who took immunity in exchange for providing state's evidence, seems to be rather familiar with the workings of the criminal justice system - is his own record not relevant to the way things have played out with the DA's office? If not admissible in court, ISTM such a public record is part of "the story" and I would like to hear about it, if he has one.
5) Strip clubs are a WONDERFUL place to get robbed, scammed, drugged or involved in random stabbings or shootings. I guess that is part of the allure, but my suggestion is that metal detectors and two large and stunner-armed bouncers would be a fine addition to the doorway decor. If I were a police chief with a big enough budget for this, I would have a guy in each of these clubs on a rotating basis. Not to bust the bartenders for dealing pills (crack, yes, you have to draw the line somewhere) or the girls for taking the occasional customer home (you also have to establish an understanding with the management or they will spot you; they will probably do that in any case - one place with which I was familiar had a housewide code when a plainclothes entered so that the girls would stop mixing for drinks, which was illegal in that locale), but to catch the major crimes that are brought in from the outside and exposed there. It also, believe it or not, keeps the girls a bit safer.

Unfortunately, Anthony and his friends made a poor choice that night. To go to a place where testostorone is pumping and there is alcohol involved is a volital mix. My understanding is that Anthony did not have many drinks that night, nor Chaz Schwarts. On the other hand Chism Lopez was pretty intoxicated and the persons from the other party had been consuming alcohol for quite some time prior. I do have to say that recollections of that night are pretty scetchy, but I have to rely on testimony given by the only "sober" one that night... Chaz . There was alot going on at one time, nobody seen anything,whether by agreement, or by some uncertainty... evidence showed that there could be only one assailant, that was Todd Newmiller. My nephew is now in a 4"by 6" box that hold his ashes, the Madril and Moreno family, and numerous friends truely believe that Todd Newmiller is guilty, not because we want some body to be held accountable for this crime, its that all of the evidence pointed to Newmiller.. not to Orgill. There can be appeals in this case but I can guarantee that the outcome will still be the same.... guilty as charged!!!!!

Just to let anybody know ...Anthony did not frequent these types of places

To read the statements Chas gave to the police, please see Schwartz's 20 November 04 statement and his 22 November 04 statement.

The fat guy Chas reports fighting with is Brad Orgill (5-10, 279 pounds) The tall thin person in the leather coat is Todd (6-3, 180).

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