BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – He’s now going to be the number two prosecutor on the James Holmes case, but Mark Hurlbert has already handled some of the highest profile and controversial cases in Colorado for the past decade.
Hurlbert’s tenure as the district attorney in Eagle County started with prosecuting the Kobe Bryant case. He told CBS4’s Jeff Todd that he wanted that case to go to trial and he was very frank about how things played out with Bryant.
Hulbert had only been in office for six months when those allegations against the NBA star surfaced. He said dealing with that case, and some other major trials, are the reasons he’s prepared to help lead a major judicial district on the Front Range.
“I would have loved to try Kobe Bryant. I don’t blame the victim for saying, ‘I don’t want to go forward.’ I support her, actually support her 100 percent, but I would have of loved to try that case and put it before 12 citizens of Eagle County,” Hurlbert said.
It was a turbulent case for a new district attorney, but Hurlbert said that case that grabbed national headlines taught him a lot early on in his career.
“Learning not only more about the law, but learning about managing a case, managing a big case, managing the office. I took a lot from Kobe Bryant and I think that had a lot to do with the success I had,” Hurlbert said. “Certainly I got a lot thicker skin than I had before from the fallout from that.”
Hurlbert represented the 5th Judicial District, made up from four high country counties, and prosecuting up to 12,000 cases a year.
“Certainly Kobe Bryant was a memorable case, but I think really one of the most important cases was one of the last cases I did, which was the Bruner trial. It had such a huge impact to the community,” Hurlbert said. “Ultimately it was a circumstantial evidence case.”
Dale Bruner was convicted of second-degree murder last year for killing his wife Stephanie Roller-Bruner and was sentenced to 112 years in prison.
He also oversaw the bizarre case of a missing Breckenridge attorney who vanished for nearly half a decade and then came back to face justice.
“I do know one of the reasons I was brought in to this district is, I have managed people for over a decade.”
Hurlbert will now help oversee the theater shooting case. He started his new job as assistant district attorney for the 18th Judicial District this week, with the most work coming from Arapahoe County.
He said dealing with high-profile cases has helped him in the long run.
“I think it has certainly helped me. When you’re dealing with a high profile case like we did with Kobe Bryant, it affects your office, it affects your office internally.”
Hurlbert said he’s glad to leave a legacy in the mountains, like setting up drug and DUI courts, and establishing the only sex assault nurse examiner program between Denver and Grand Junction. But he knows he’s certainly got a lot of work to do in the southern metro area.