Abling Gets 10 Years…and Forgiveness

Prowers County Courthouse

Prowers County Courthouse

Marla Abling was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the death of 45 year old Rory Alba of Lamar in January 2013.  Alba was found dead in her apartment in Lamar on South 9th Street, apparently struck by a blunt instrument and with an extension cord, wrapped tightly around his neck.  The sentencing was handed down by Judge Stanley Brinkley on Wednesday, May 27, following an earlier plea agreement between the District Attorney and Public Defenders Office on May 12.  Murder charges were dropped to Reckless Manslaughter, a fourth degree felony in Colorado and the sentence was agreed to by all parties.

Abling stood for her sentencing by Judge Brinkley who remanded her to the Department of Corrections for ten years with a mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of three years.  Her time was reduced by the 915 days she was incarcerated in the Prowers County Jail while she awaited trial.  Abling never made bail on her charges.  In addition to the ten years, she was sentenced to one year to be served concurrently for a probation violation.

Robert Alba, the son of Rory Alba, addressed both the court and Abling on behalf of his family.  “The past two and a half years have been very hard on my family, dealing with the loss of my father.  He was a very kind and loving person and he’ll never be able to share his smile with any of us again.  He’ll never play with his grandchildren or walk a granddaughter down the aisle for her wedding.”  He added, “I know this has been hard on Marla’s family and some people believe there should be more to the sentence, but we need to be able to move ahead.  The sentencing doesn’t always go the way you expect it to go.”  Looking at Abling from the court podium, he simply stated, “I forgive you, Marla.”  Abling showed no visible emotion as Robert Alba concluded, “We’ll try to put this behind us.  We’ll never forget any of it, but we can learn by what happened here.”

District Attorney Jennifer Swanson and Public Defender Russell Zane both made statements to the court regarding their perspective on the case.  Swanson said she had been in contact with members of the Colorado Attorney General’s office on developing the case and the subsequent plea agreement and added that it was felt that the interjection of the Make My Day legal clause into a jury trial would lessen the chances for a more severe sentence and charges.  She added that the people  would find a fine line of distinction between an unlawful or uninvited entry on the part of Alba at Abling’s apartment if the case went before a jury. At the time, he was under a restraining order.    She added that she hoped the Alba family can find a degree of solace to comfort them.  For Abling, Swanson stated that perhaps she would be able to “age out” of her life of crime while she’s in prison.

Zane said he was personally shocked and struck by the act of forgiveness Robert Alba displayed in the courtroom.  He added that he didn’t see that coming in this sentencing, but hoped that the Alba family would be okay with the plea agreement and that any future animosity and bitterness could be put aside.  Zane said this was not an open and shut case for either side as it carried a number of legal complications.  He did believe that the actions by Robert Alba would go a long way in helping the community go in a much better direction because of the family’s actions.

Judge Brinkley addressed the court, stating that for many, it must have felt like the case was going on forever and was an emotional weight that was borne by both families.  He added that the Lamar Police Department felt they had a “slam dunk case”, but would have been better served if they had brought in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to assist with the case.  Judge Brinkley said the case carried some emotions for all involved as, in a small community, most everyone knows everyone else and that was the case for him.  He too, stressed the need for attaining some sense of closure and wasn’t sure if the Alba family would have it.  He praised Robert Alba for his display of compassion and courage and added that his father, Rory, would be pleased at his son’s understanding.

Judge Brinkley turned his attention to Marla Albing, giving her the opportunity to make a statement to the court, which she declined.  Brinkley told her, “You are the only one who knows what happened that day and you will have to live with it.”  He added, “You will grow older in prison.  You know…you’ve been there before.”

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust


Filed Under: CitycommunityFeaturedHot TopicsLamarLaw EnforcementPolice ReportsProwers CountyThe Journal Alert


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.