ASPEN - Warren Carter's seven minutes as a fugitive in Aspen will likely cost him another three years in state prison.
Through his court-appointed attorney, Peter Rachesky of Glenwood Springs, Carter announced Monday in Pitkin County District Court that he would plead guilty to a class-three felony charge of escape.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutor Arnold Mordkin agreed to drop five charges of habitual criminal charges against Carter, which, because of sentencing enhancers, would have added up to 51 years behind bars.
The deal effectively canceled a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Carter, 45, who has lived on an off in Aspen over the years.
Prosecutors had planned to provide evidence from a July incident in which Carter allegedly bolted from the Pitkin County Courthouse after Judge James Boyd had sentenced him to three years in the Department of Corrections for the conviction of a 2008 theft of copper wire from The Residences at The Little Nell hotel.
At issue was whether Carter was in custody at the time of the incident. Both Mordkin and Rachesky said they are unaware of any Colorado case law regarding a defendant who fled from a courthouse immediately after being sentenced.
In the case of Carter, Boyd instructed him to sit in the in-custody area in the courtroom until further notice; instead, he "walked quickly toward the door of the courtroom," before running down the stairs and out of the west door of the courthouse, according to an affidavit in support of warrantless arrest, filed by Pitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Levi Borst.
Carter was allegedly on the lam for about seven minutes before police and deputies captured him behind the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen, officials said.
Court records show Carter, who has also used the aliases of Joshua Blassing, Joshua Blessing, Anthony Dane, Anthony Hill and Wesley D. Rolison over the years, has been in trouble with the law before.
More than two dozen separate cases had been filed against Carter in Colorado over the years - ranging from traffic offenses to felony forgery and burglary charges. He has been arrested or ticketed in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Garfield and Jefferson counties, data shows.
His three-year sentences for the copper wire theft and the escape will run consecutively, Mordkin said. Carter is scheduled to return to court Nov. 1, at which time he is expected to plead guilty to the escape charge and be sentenced as well.
"He does better when he's in prison," Mordkin said.