Branson to also face assault, bond violation charges | AspenTimes.com

Branson to also face assault, bond violation charges

Naomi Havlen

Donald Branson, accused of second-degree murder for allegedly trying to slash a man’s throat near Old Snowmass, will also stand trial for assault and a bond violation.

Judge James Boyd of the Pitkin County 9th District Court ruled Wednesday there is enough probable cause for Branson to be tried on both charges.

At a preliminary hearing on July 31, Boyd ruled that Branson, an attorney from Texas, will stand trial for the attempted murder of his ex-wife’s boyfriend.

Branson was arrested on April 9 after police say he tried to slit the throat of Glenwood Springs resident Martin Arroyo. He allegedly cut Arroyo’s neck deeply just beneath his chin.

At the preliminary hearing Arroyo identified Branson as having committed the alleged assault. The charge of first-degree assault includes causing “serious bodily injury,” and Dr. Steven Ayers testified Arroyo faced a substantial risk of death, since the cut was extremely close to critical arteries and veins.

Branson’s ex-wife, Pam Branson, also testified that Donald Branson told her he had tried to kill Arroyo.

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“The evidence indicates the victim’s throat was cut within millimeters of several life-sustaining body parts,” Boyd wrote in his order. “The district attorney has met his burden to show probable cause that the victim suffered a bodily injury which at or after the time of injury involved a substantial risk of death.”

Boyd’s order also rules that Branson can stand trial for an alleged violation of his bond, which included a ban on contact with Arroyo or Pam Branson. But according to police reports, Pam Branson called police on June 12 when she saw her ex-husband at her home on East Cooper Avenue.

The two made no eye contact and didn’t speak when Pam Branson saw her ex-husband on the top step of her home, she said.

Although Donald Branson’s attorney, Gary Lozow, inferred that his client did not know that Pam Branson would be at the home when he was there, Boyd once again sided with the prosecution.

“Nonverbal conduct can be a powerful communication,” Boyd wrote. “Appearing at the window of a home known to be Pam Branson’s home and standing on her front top doorstep … could support an inference that the defendant was sending a message he intended Pam Branson to receive. This would be communication and therefore contact.”

Branson will be arraigned Oct. 29.

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