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Durango fugitive arrested for threatening retired district judge

Text messages sent by man who previously appeared before court

A Durango fugitive was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of threatening a retired district court judge.

Christopher McLeod, 33, is charged with retaliation against a judge, a class 4 felony, according to an affidavit of probable cause for arrest issued March 20. He also faces a contempt of court charge from an outstanding warrant that stems from his failure to comply with pretrial services after he pleaded guilty to menacing and was sentenced to probation by recently retired 6th Judicial District Judge Todd Norvell.


The retaliation charge is for McLeod allegedly sending threatening text messages to Norvell’s personal phone last month.

Norvell, who resigned Jan. 14 because of health issues, reported receiving the text messages to the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on March 17. He said the messages included his personal address, a claim that McLeod had shared the judge’s personal address with others and indicated that McLeod was familiar with Norvell’s daily routine.

Norvell showed a Sheriff’s Office detective four text messages he received from a phone number authorities then traced to McLeod, according to the affidavit. The text messages, edited to remove offensive language, included:

  • “Hey there (derogatory term for homosexual).”
  • “Your sickness is apparently serious enough for you to resign. I hope you suffer tremendously before you pass away. I couldn’t think of a better person to happen to. I’ll be sure to make fun of your family publicly when you’re gone.”
  • “(Norvell’s home address). That address was posted and sent to anyone and everyone you’ve ever passed judgment on. The devil will (expletive) you in the (expletive) while you drink fire.”
  • “Your daily routine as well. ie Your favorite restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, po box and anything that could make you uncomfortable in public.”

McLeod’s mother told investigators the messages were likely sent because her son was upset about the warrant issued for his failure to comply with pretrial services as well as the related court case.

McLeod’s guilty plea to menacing followed his arrest by Durango Police for an assault at Mercy Hospital in July 2021.

McLeod is scheduled to appear in court April 21 for formal filing of charges and a hearing on revocation of probation.


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