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Press Release

Denver Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for Escape and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – Eric Eugene Hartwell, age 53, of Denver, Colorado, was sentenced last Friday U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 120 months (10 years) in federal prison, followed by 5 years on supervised release for escape and failure to register as a sex offender, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and U.S. Marshal Ken Deal announced.  The sentence is the result of a guilty verdict following a four-day jury trial.  The jury deliberated for approximately over two hours before reaching their verdicts.  Hartwell, who was in custody, was remanded at the conclusion of the hearing.  The defendant was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 22, 2014, and found guilty following the jury trial on August 13, 2015. 

According to facts presented to the jury during trial, as well as from the Sentencing Statement filed by the prosecution, Hartwell was convicted on March 19, 2010, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas for failure to register as a sex offender.  As a result of this conviction, he was sentenced to a 60-month term of imprisonment and ordered to serve a life time of supervised release.  After Hartwell served his federal prison sentence, he was transferred to Colorado to begin his term of supervised release and to begin a term of parole in conjunction with a 2011 Colorado Failure to Cancel Registration conviction.  On January 6, 2014, during a meeting with a Senior U.S. Probation Officer, the defendant was provided information in relation to his federal supervised release requirements, both verbally and in writing, including his sex offender registration requirements.  He signed an acknowledgement that he understood the conditions of his federal supervision, including that he was required to “register with state and local law enforcement as directed by the U.S. Probation Officer in each jurisdiction where the defendant resides, is employed, or is a student” and that he was required “no later than 3 business days after each change of name, residence, employment, or student status, appear in person in at least one jurisdiction and inform that jurisdiction of all changes in the information required in the sex offender registry.”

Additional conditions of federal supervised release included that the defendant was required to reside in a halfway house.  Hartwell began residing at a residential reentry center in Denver on January 22, 2014.  He updated his sex offender registration as required on January 24, 2014, to reflect his change of residence to the halfway house.  On February 21, 2014, Hartwell packed his personal items and departed the halfway house without permission.  A state warrant was issued in Colorado and a federal warrant was issued by the Northern District of Texas.  The U.S. Marshal Service Violent Offender Task Force (COVOTF) conducted an investigation to locate Hartwell.  It was confirmed that the defendant, who originally reserved his travel using the name “John Miller,” purchased an Amtrak train ticket from Denver, Colorado, to Chicago, Illinois on February 21, 2014.  On that same day and before purchasing the Amtrak ticket, the defendant withdrew $3,600 from an ATM in Denver and removed and discarded a GPS-tracking ankle monitor that he was required to wear as a condition of his Colorado state-parole.

The U.S. Marshal’s investigation revealed that on February 27, 2014, Hartwell withdrew $503 from his bank account, leaving a balance of $5.87 in that account, from an ATM in Washington, DC.  He then traveled on the Greyhound Bus Line under the name “John Miller” from Washington, DC to Norfolk, Virginia.  On February 28, 2014, Hartwell was arrested after he was located by the U.S. Marshals in a motel in Norfolk, Virginia.  The prosecution proved that on February 21, 2014, the defendant escaped the halfway house at which he was registered in Colorado, and, as of February 28, 2014, he had failed to register as a sex offender or update his sex offender registration in Colorado or any other state.

One of the factors for the lengthy sentence was the defendant’s previous criminal history.  In addition to the convictions noted above, Hartwell was convicted on September 11, 1991, of the felony of Rape of a Child in the First Degree in the Snohomish County Superior Court in the state of Washington.  The conviction was a result of Hartwell having sexual contact with a six-year-old child in his neighborhood.  Hartwell was also convicted on September 1, 1996, of Attempted Indecent Liberties and Sex Offender Failure to Register in the Skagit County Superior Court in the state of Washington.  This conviction was a result of Hartwell picking up a pregnant teenage hitchhiker and telling her that he was going to rape her; she was able to escape from the car after fighting him off.  This is the Hartwell’s fifth conviction for an offense involving the failure to register as a sex offender.

“Defendant Hartwell had a history of being a child sex predator,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Thanks to the hard work of the U.S. Marshals Service, and their Violent Offender Task Force, Hartwell was found after leaving a halfway house and failing to register as a sex offender.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, including the U.S. Marshals Service Violent Offender Task Force.

Hartwell is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Tonini and Alecia Riewerts.

Updated November 24, 2015

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