Elsa Murillo-Gonzalez — a Roaring Fork Valley woman who faces 11 felony and two misdemeanor charges related to theft and forgery based on an alleged late November, forged-check-cashing spree — appeared in Pitkin County District Court on Monday following a new theft accusation by the Aspen Police Department.
Gonzalez, 40, who also goes by the last name Ramirez, was booked into the Pitkin County Jail on Monday after Judge Gail Nichols raised the amount of her bond on last year’s charges by an extra $10,000, from $15,000 to $25,000. Assistant District Attorney Ann Norton argued for the higher bond amount, pointing out that Gonzalez faces an additional misdemeanor charge stemming from her alleged role as an accomplice in a January theft at the Thrift Shop of Aspen.
Norton also pointed out that Gonzalez has five prior felony convictions and a record of failing to appear for court dates.
Gonzalez was arrested Nov. 28 by Aspen police on suspicion of taking her employer’s checks and conspiring with another woman, Elizabeth Jaramillo-Dominguez, to forge and cash them on Nov. 21, netting $6,000 cash at multiple Alpine Bank branches. But while Gonzalez was able to immediately arrange the $15,000 bond and obtain release, Dominguez spent more than two weeks in jail.
Nichols released Dominguez, 18, on a personal-recognizance bond on Dec. 16. As a condition of the no-cost bond, she ordered Dominguez not to have any contact with Gonzalez. The two women formerly were roommates in Carbondale, but now Gonzalez lists her residence as Glenwood Springs.
Dominguez was taken into custody by Aspen police on Jan. 6 on suspicion of stealing $253 worth of items from the Thrift Shop of Aspen. Police later used surveillance video to identify Gonzalez as her accomplice, which resulted in the new misdemeanor theft charge, according to court records.
In addition to the video, a thrift-store employee “positively identified Elsa Murillo-Gonzalez as the person who was with Jaramillo-Dominguez on (Jan. 6) when the thrift shop theft was committed,” wrote Aspen policeman Casey Ward in an arrest affidavit.
As someone who has been convicted of five felonies in the past, Gonzalez is facing charges in the “habitual criminal” category, court records show. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a mandatory 24 years in prison.
Her defense attorney, Chip McCrory, filed a motion in district court asking for a “bill of particulars.” In the motion, he argues that the District Attorney’s Office charges against Gonzalez are unspecific and fail to allow his client “to assert a defense.”
Nichols said she would consider the motion and also the bond amount at another hearing next week.
In other district-court action:
• Jacob Frutin, 26, was sentenced to five years of “sex offender intensive supervised probation,” a Colorado program known as SOISP. In 2010, Fruitin pleaded guilty in Pitkin County to attempted sexual assault of a victim incapable of consenting and also transfer of marijuana to a person under 15, both felonies. He received a five-year prison sentence but obtained early release. He later committed an unspecified violation, which resulted in the new SOISP sentence.
His attorney, Greg Greer, told Nichols on Monday that the case against Frutin had a “tortured history” and that dual supervision by the parole and probation departments after his release had created confusion to the point where his client had difficulty complying with certain probation conditions. Nichols told Frutin that she believes his attitude has changed and that he has earned the right to enter the probation program. But she also warned him that the intensive treatment under the program would be difficult.
• Nichols signed an arrest warrant for Kevin Craig, 22, a student at the University of Missouri. A September investigation by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office resulted in a charge of aggravated motor-vehicle theft, a felony, against Craig. He failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance on Monday, leading Nichols to sign the warrant.