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Evergreen resident nominated for U.S. attorney

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By Vicky Gits

Evergreen resident Stephanie Villafuerte, 43, is one of three people whose names have been sent to President Barack Obama for consideration as a candidate for U.S. attorney for Colorado.

Villafuerte, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Bill Ritter, would replace Troy Eid, who resigned as the state’s chief prosecutor to return to private practice before possibly launching a run for attorney general in 2010. The state’s incumbent attorney general, John Suthers, is planning to seek the nomination for governor or U.S. senator from Colorado in 2010.

Villafuerte worked under Ritter for nine years as a deputy district attorney and chief deputy. She was also active in Ritter’s election campaign and was the coordinator for the transition team.

 

She was the lead prosecutor in the 2005 trial of convicted Capitol Hill serial rapist Brent Brents in Denver and was named the Prosecutor of the Year for her work in that case.

 

Since graduating from law school at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1991, Villafuerte has spent most of her career prosecuting crimes against women and children. She was named chief deputy of the family violence unit for the Denver district attorney’s office in 2001.

 

She has lived with her husband, Seth Grob, an Evergreen attorney, and her two daughters in Evergreen since 1992.

 

An avid cyclist, Villafuerte loves Evergreen for the hills and the altitude. One of her favorite rides is from Evergreen to Central City and back up the bike path and Central City Parkway.

 

A Colorado native, Villafuerte grew up in Denver and Aurora and was one of the first members of her family to graduate from college. That meant working and borrowing heavily to pay for college and law school.

 

“I worked my tail off to pay the debt,” Villafuerte said.

 

She met Grob in her junior year when they were both studying at the London School of  Economics.

 

“We have been following each other around ever since,” she said. They even went to law school at UCLA “by design,” she said.

 

She probably could have gone anywhere, but coming back to Colorado was always in the plan.

 

“It was a lifestyle choice. We wanted to own property and send our kids to a safe school. Evergreen has been wonderful to us,” Villafuerte said.

 

It helps that her husband’s practice is in Evergreen, close to their daughters’ schools. Grob was a member of the Clear Creek County school board when the family lived in West Evergreen. They later moved another mile east down the road. The kids are in public schools.

 

Villafuerte has always wanted this job, Grob said.

 

“We met our junior year abroad,” he said. “We talked about our dreams, and she said her dream was to be a career prosecutor. We have been through a lot.”

 

He described his wife on the job as “extremely hardworking … and extremely persuasive. She can distill a tremendous number of facts.” At home she is “a terrific role model for being a mom. She still makes time for the kids and attends a lot of their activities.”

 

Sens. Mark Udall and Ken Salazar submitted Villafuerte’s name for consideration, along with the names of William Thiebaut Jr. and John Walsh III.  

 

Thiebaut is the 10th Judicial District attorney in Pueblo, and Walsh is former prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles and a private attorney handling mostly civil and white-collar crime cases in Denver.