The homeless veteran arrested Wednesday for living beside a local highway will be released from jail with having to post bond.
Roy Gleiter made his first court appearance Thursday. A magistrate allowed Gleiter to use a personal recognizance bond. This means Gleiter will be released from jail without posting bond by promising to show up in court.
The magistrate allowed his release, if Gleiter promised to stay a homeless shelter until his next court appearance. According to Gleiter's attorney, Matt Martin, he will stay a local homeless shelter in Pueblo arranged by Posada.
Gleiter was arrested Wednesday for trespassing and unlawful conduct on public property. For six months, he lived in a tent off Highway 50 in Eastern Pueblo County. The Colorado Department of Transportation had the State Patrol arrest him when he refused to leave, after giving him a notice to vacate.
“People can't just simply build their home on the side of the highway. It's a very dangerous place,” said CDOT spokesperson Stacey Stegman.
Gleiter's blue tent was torn down and all his belongings towed away.
Officials say they were sympathetic to his situation and his cause for as long as they could be.
“We've known that he's been here and we have turned our heads for six months. Because we know people fall on hard times, we want to see him succeed, and to continue on his journey,” said Stegman.
Stegman says all his belongings were inventoried and videotaped, and will be stored at a Liever’s towing impound lot until Gleiter can claim it.
“In America we have rules and we have boundaries. You can’t just build your home on the side of the highway; cars can hit your home. There are rules for a reason, and that’s to protect public safety and that’s what we want here. We don’t want to see motorists endangered, and we certainly don’t want to see Gleiter or the woman with him endangered,” said Stegman.
The elderly woman living with him, 73-year-old Debra Cowden was taken to Parkview Medical Center for evaluation. There is no update on her condition.
Gleiter also had two dogs in the camp. They were taken to Pueblo Animal Services.
Gleiter will be released from jail Thursday night. Martin, his attorney, is working the case for free, saying even the homeless need someone to protect their rights.
“My job is to protect his rights, whatever it takes,” said Martin. He added, “He has a first amendment right to protest, no question about that. He has a constitutional right to travel freely throughout the country. And he has a right to be free from selective criminal prosecution. Also, a right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures,” said Martin.
Martin says he is still unclear what type of legal action they will take on the issue. While he may understand the trespassing accusation, he doesn’t believe Martin is a nuisance.
CDOT has said that if anyone can offer land or another solution for Gleiter, they'll be happy to deliver his things to that location.