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Mistrial declared in child sex assault trial

Prosecutors mum on whether they plan to refile charges against Durango man

A jury trial for a Durango man accused of sexually assaulting a child ended in a mistrial Thursday in 6th Judicial District Court.

The weeklong trial was held for Brandon Durrschmidt, 40, who is accused of inappropriately touching a child under the age of 10 over a three-year timeline.

Brandon Durrschmidt

Jurors were apparently unable to reach a unanimous decision, resulting in the hung jury, said District Attorney Christian Champagne.

Prosecutors have 90 days to decide what to do next. Possibilities include dismissing the charge, entering plea agreement negotiations or retrying the case.

“It's a challenging and difficult time for (the child) and (the child’s) family,” Champagne said. “At this point, we're going to give it some time and space before we make a final decision.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sean Murray and deputy district attorneys Justin Howard Pierce and Brad Neagos.

Public defenders Justin Bogan and Kellan Schmelz represented Durrschmidt.

The alleged sexual assaults occurred from April 6, 2016, through Jan. 28, 2019, in the Animas Valley north of Durango, according to court testimony and court records.

The case revolved around two tight-knit families who had a falling out with each other. It was only after the falling out that the child reported Durrschmidt had touched her inappropriately “too many times to count.”

Prosecutors said the child had no reason to make up such allegations and gave consistent statements to investigators and this week on the witness stand.

“It takes a lot of courage to testify as a victim in any case, and especially in a case like this,” Champagne said. “We just really appreciate the courage that it takes to come forward and to testify and we want to honor that courage and respect and honor the victim as best we can.”

Defense lawyers said the case amounted to one big accusation with no solid evidence to support the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

They reminded jurors that Durrschmidt is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The 12-person jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon and resumed Thursday morning. A hung jury was declared late Thursday morning.

District Judge Suzanne Carlson oversaw the case.