Kemp Shooting: Trial starts for one State Trooper

By: Therese O'Shea Email
By: Therese O'Shea Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Today will start the jury trial in the case of Jason Kemp, who was shot and killed back in summer of 2010. Colorado State Trooper Ivan Lawyer will face a Jury and a Judge today in the case, one that KKCO 11 News has been following since the beginning, and today might just mark the beginning of its end.

July 2010: Officers are called to the site of an accident near Glade Park Road, not far from the home of then 31-year-old Jason Kemp. He had fled the scene in a hit and run.

A short while later, Kemp refused to allow Colorado state troopers Ivan Lawyer and Kirk Firko to enter his home, saying he was armed. Lawyer mistook a flash of light for a gun shot, causing him to fire his gun at Kemp, who died on the scene shortly after.

"I think it is a tragic situation for all concerned,” says District Attorney Pete Hautzinger. “The Kemp family lost their beloved son, and the two defendants are facing serious consequences and the potential loss of their careers."

It was later determined that Kemp was unarmed.

Flash forward to May of 2011: An American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the officers, plus one other and two training supervisor. The lawsuit claimed the officers were negligent and had insufficient training.

Just a few months later, KKCO 11 News spoke to the only witness in Kemp’s home at the time of his shooting.

"It’s overwhelming...Not easy being back here,” says Ian Olson, a friend of Kemp’s.

That same month, Lawyer and Firko did face a jury, pleading not guilty to several charges Firko being charged with criminal trespassing and criminal mischief, while Lawyer faced the very serious charge of criminally negligent homicide.

Separate trials were set for December. Defense lawyers had asked for more time, and the new trial date was set for today, April 9 at 9 a.m.

Most recently, a judge had ruled that the searching of Kemp’s home was illegal. Back in February, U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock ruled that Firko and Lawyer violated Kemp’s 4th amendment right against illegal search and seizure while investigating a traffic accident

KKCO 11 News will continue to keep you updated as we find out more from court.


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  • by Anonymous Location: GJ on Apr 10, 2012 at 01:07 PM
    You just have to Love these Morons that type in all caps. Bet they fill their application out at Wal Mart for door greeter the same way!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 01:10 AM in reply to
      Door greeter? WTFever. Cart pusher maybe, but not door greeter.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2012 at 06:36 AM
    I KNOW A LOT MORE FACTS THAN YOU EVEN KNOW SO PLEASE DON'T QUESTION ME
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 01:10 AM in reply to
      Okay, but please don't caplock me.
  • by Gambler on Apr 9, 2012 at 06:50 PM
    Like any good gambler....my money is with the house on this one. No way our judical system finds one of their own guilty.
  • by JUST ME on Apr 9, 2012 at 06:12 PM
    FIRST OF ALL WHERE ARE YOU GETTING YOUR FACTS.. JASON NEVER SAID HE HAD A WEAPON, NOR WAS THERE A FLASH. THESE TROOPERS ARE GRASPING AT STRAWS, TRYING TO BUY SOME TIME AND COVER THERE TRACKS, HELLO GUILT IS WRITTEN ALL OVER THERE FACES. JUSTICE NEEDS TO BE DONE, WE CAN'T EVEN TRUST SOMEONE WHO IS THERE TO SERVE AND PROTECT. SO WHO DO WE CALL.
    • reply
      by Dave on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:28 PM in reply to JUST ME
      Shame you aren't on the jury.
    • reply
      by Luke on Apr 9, 2012 at 09:17 PM in reply to JUST ME
      If Kemp was innocent as you say, then why didn't he do what an innocent person would have done? instead, he did everything possible to esculate the situation, that in itself is enough to exonerate the state patrol officers. Kemp made the decisions that got himself killed, no one else could have made those decisions for him. In all honesty, what would you have done?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 09:24 PM in reply to Luke
        um, not hunt down and shoot and kill an unarmed man for a traffic violation
        • reply
          by Luke on Apr 10, 2012 at 06:44 AM in reply to
          Put yourself in that situation as the officer knowing Kemps reputation with LE, and whether you like it or not, he had a bad reputation. Knowing he had acess to weapons, would you not be prepared to defend yourself? How would you even know he was not armed after he went into the house? Really? Think about it, Kemp brought on what happened by his own actions, nothing more, nothing less, had he not been stupid, he would still be alive.
        • reply
          by 2 Luke on Apr 10, 2012 at 09:03 AM in reply to
          The point is, it was a traffic violation, where property was harmed, NOT PEOPLE. Was it really necessary to pursue him with deadly force? If he said no to their entry without a search warrant... COME BACK WITH A SEARCH WARRANT!!!
  • by SOMEONE WHO CARES on Apr 9, 2012 at 05:58 PM
    HOW CAN THE TROOPER SAY HES NOT GUILTY WHEN HE'S THE ONE WHO HELD THE GUN THAT KILLED JASON. GOOD OR BAD HE STILL KILLED HIM.
  • by David Location: GJ on Apr 9, 2012 at 10:04 AM
    So Kemp told the cop he was armed? Stupid: given to unintelligent decisions or acts
  • by From Denver on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:54 AM
    Anonymous, your ignorance is apparent and your inability to spell an easy word like TROOPER is evidence that you truly are a moron.
    • reply
      by Hey Denver on Apr 9, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to From Denver
      You're looking pretty smart yourself by posting the same thing six times.
  • by From Denver on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:54 AM
    Anonymous, your ignorance is apparent and your inability to spell an easy word like TROOPER is evidence that you truly are a moron.
  • by From Denver on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:54 AM
    Anonymous, your ignorance is apparent and your inability to spell an easy word like TROOPER is evidence that you truly are a moron.
  • by From Denver on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:54 AM
    Anonymous, your ignorance is apparent and your inability to spell an easy word like TROOPER is evidence that you truly are a moron.
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