SAN LUIS — Jesper Joergensen, a 52-year-old illegal immigrant from Denmark, is moving toward eventual trial with mental health treatment.
Joergensen, who wrote repeatedly about anarchy on social media, faces more than 200 charges of felony arson in connection with the Spring Creek Fire, the third largest in Colorado history.
He was declared incompetent and is receiving restoration services from the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).
He was bound over for trial Feb. 14, 2019 in Costilla County and more charges were added later by Huerfano.
On June 28, 2018, Joergensen allegedly started the Spring Fire that burned 108,045 acres and destroyed numerous homes in Costilla and Huerfano counties.
He is being treated in the Arapahoe County Detention Center RISE Program (Restoring Individuals Safely and Effectively) a jail-based competency restoration program established through a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and Correct Care Recovery Solutions.
According to an agency web page, the RISE Program embraces recovery-oriented, trauma-informed care for all patients.
The recovery model promotes patient choice and tailors treatment to meet individual needs based on the assessments of a multi-disciplinary treatment team.
Restoration services for individuals found incompetent to proceed to trial, include assessment and evaluations, individualized treatment planning, individual and group treatment, psychiatric services, psychological services, medication and medication monitoring and discharge and reentry planning.
The goal is to restore competency so Joergensen can stand trial for the arsons. Since he is not a citizen of the United States, he will be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the arson case concludes. ICE has a detainer hold on him and will wait on action until the local charges are satisfied.
According to ICE, Joergensen is a deportable alien, “admitted to the United States subject to any grounds of removal specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. This includes any alien illegally in the United States, regardless of whether the alien entered the country by fraud or misrepresentation or entered legally but subsequently violated the terms of his or her nonimmigrant classification or status.”
On April 23, 2019, Joergensen was back in the courtroom for a status update on the motions filed by both the defense and prosecution. However, he used the preliminary hearing as a soap box to voice his own opinions.
Facing hundreds of first-degree arson charges, he claimed that his attorney wasn’t giving him information on the case, and asked the judge for new representation. His defense attorney refuted these claims to the judge.
Joergensen then asked for a change in venue and a different judge, claiming he did nothing wrong and is being treated unfairly. There has been no debate that a fire near his rural Costilla County home spread to one of Colorado’s largest wildfires, the question is one of criminal intent — was it an accident?
In an arrest affidavit, however, Joergensen changed his story on how the fire started multiple times, claiming it was an accident. Topping the list was the story of how he cooked meat to eat and didn’t watch the burn pit in which the fire was started. Another explanation of burning trash was also questioned, since he admittedly didn’t ensure the fire was out before going into his RV camper home and falling asleep.
When he awakened, he called to report the fire, which had spread to some bushes next to his place. He claimed he tried to quell the flames with towels and a blanket, suffering facial burns and scorched clothing. As the fire spread, Joergensen drove to nearby Mountain Home Reservoir and sat in his truck playing with his dog until he was taken into custody.