ASPEN - Armed with 71 pages of documents he believed would exonerate him of a trespass charge, an Aspen transient went to trial Wednesday in Aspen Municipal Court, where he was constantly chided by a judge for speaking out of turn and bogging down the proceedings.
Aspen police cited Nikos Jacob Warrence, 41, on June 10 after a worker at the Aspen Homeless Shelter's day center called authorities to complain that he would not leave.
According to police records, when Warrence was first approached by authorities about the alleged trespass, he "started on an aggravated tirade about billionaires and political discussions" and "continued his tirade to the Pitkin County Jail."
The complaint was registered after Warrence allegedly helped himself to a plate of spaghetti that was not intended for him, a day-center worker testified.
When the worker confronted Warrence about eating the pasta, he allegedly went on a tirade about billionaires living on Red Mountain and bemoaned the fact that he was being ordered to leave because he ate 15 cents' worth of food.
"He said I had no grounds to ask him to leave," testified Jeremy Kowalis, who works at the day center. Kowalis described Warrence as "loud, disruptive and argumentative."
Meanwhile, Warrence, who came to trial wearing a T-shirt with a picture of blues legend Lead Belly, spent much of his time cross-examining Kowalis about his motives.
Warrence repeated the same questions and often was silenced by Judge Brooke Peterson. From the onset of Wednesday's proceedings, Peterson, who noted that the trial had been delayed one month, expressed frustration with Warrence.
"You continue to interrupt me, and I am not going to have a back-and-forth with you throughout this trial," Peterson said when Warrence tried to introduce a 71-page document into evidence.
At one time, Warrence complained that he was "absolutely convinced" that two district judges in Lake County played a part in the trespass charge. He said that Vince Savage, who runs the homeless shelter, had connections to the judges.
"I don't know either one of them," said Savage, whose testimony was cut short because he had a conflicting appointment in Glenwood Springs.
Savage is scheduled to take the stand again Wednesday, when the trial is set to continue.