CAMP VERDE - The trial of Ivo Buddeke ended in acquittal Monday evening in Yavapai County Superior Court.
The Rimrock man had been charged with disorderly conduct with a weapon stemming from a case nearly two years ago in which he was accused of threatening surveyors and construction crews with a shotgun.
In the end, a videotape that was allowed into evidence may have been the linchpin. While some photos taken of the incident in April 2011 may have been open to interpretation, the tape that defense attorney Thomas Kelly was able to negotiate into the proceedings apparently gave jurors a more comprehensive look at what happened at 5280 E. Bentley Drive in Rimrock.
Now free from the threat of imprisonment, Buddeke said getting through the trial "took my faith in the jury and my attorney and help from my friends. It was a real ordeal and emotionally draining."
Buddeke claimed from the beginning that the workers were trespassing on his property, taking down his trees, and that he never aimed the shotgun at anyone.
The incident occurred during an ongoing, heated dispute between the Montezuma Rimrock Water Company and a group claiming that the water company had illegally drilled a commercial well. That day, Rask Construction employees were clearing vegetation along Buddeke's property line for a water-line project.
Buddeke confronted the workers and told them to get off his property, in so many words. He went inside and called the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and then returned to the site with his shotgun.
What happened at that point was the basis for the trial.
While workers and Norm Rask himself said they felt threatened, there was no ace testimony or evidence that established conclusively that Buddeke purposely aimed the weapon at anyone.
After prosecution witnesses were questioned last week, Buddeke himself took the stand Monday in Judge Michael Bluff's court to explain his side of the story. About midway through his testimony, the video of the incident was shown.
At the end of Monday's session, the jury deliberated a little more than hour before returning their verdict of acquittal.
Buddeke resents the "resources wasted" on the trial and how evidence was handled by the county attorney's office. "They want to win at all costs," he said. "It was not in pursuit of justice."
His friend John Dougherty, who has been the most vocal opponent of the Montezuma Rimrock Water Company's well, called the whole case "character assassination."
"It was a trumped up case against Ivo, and it's outrageous that this has been allowed to go on."
"This" refers to the entire, complex dispute with Patsy Olson's water company. Many things in that case have changed between the time Buddeke was arrested and his actual trial.
The well was drilled in 2006, and a conditional use permit was granted in 2010. The well was considered an important element of an arsenic treatment plant that the state ordered the water company to install. However, after not meeting county stipulations, the company had its permit pulled.
An administrative law judge ordered the well site to be shut down and the property cleared, a decision upheld by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors. While all structures were taken down, the well head remained. That caused Dougherty to challenge the county's zoning enforcement.
So the fight with the water company that presaged Buddeke's arrest in the first place will continue. But the trial's outcome ended one chapter for Ivo Buddeke.
"Now I can wake up in the morning without a knot in my stomach," he said. "I'm glad the jury heard the truth and they believed me."
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013
Article comment by:
Hurray for Ivo. It's about time the Good Guy Won!.
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Article comment by:
this "water company" has been charging HOA fees in that neighborhood for years but anyone who has drove down the roads there has to know what a joke it is, good for Mr Buddeke, bonk utility companies have no place in this community... kick rocks