Teenager skips court, but will testify today
November 14, 2005
A local teenager was facing potential criminal charges Monday after he failed to show up for a court appearance in the trial of Cinthia Romero.Defense attorney Arnie Mordkin has been working to poke holes in the prosecution’s case against his client. Romero, 17, is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from last year’s beating of a 16-year old runaway on Independence Pass (see related story).As part of these efforts, Mordkin subpoenaed an Aspen High School student who is believed to have seen Romero’s former boyfriend, Jaime Castro, hanging around with an unidentified white male around the time of the assault, according to a statement Mordkin made during trial proceedings on Nov. 10.It has been a central tenet of Mordkin’s case that Romero was not present during the Oct. 9, 2004, beating along Highway 82 east of Aspen. He contends that Castro and an unidentified male were responsible for the beating.The teenager, whose identity has not been divulged, was scheduled to testify Monday, as was Aspen High School teacher Linda Lafferty, to whom he reportedly revealed his knowledge.Lafferty testified Nov. 10, but she refused to name the teenager in open court despite Judge James Boyd’s threat of a contempt of court citation. Contempt of court could mean jail time or a fine, the judge told Lafferty, but she held her ground and asked to talk to the judge in private.A subpoena for the teen’s testimony was issued on the afternoon of Nov. 10, after a closed-door session involving the judge, Lafferty and the attorneys. Attorneys for both sides said Lafferty no longer faces a contempt citation.The teenager, however, failed to appear in court Monday. Mordkin said he served the subpoena about 9:20 a.m. Friday, and that it called for the boy to be in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday.A bench warrant for the teen’s arrest was issued Monday afternoon; authorities found him later that evening. Mordkin said the teen would be in court this morning, and that he is not being charged in the matter.Lafferty also may testify after the appearance of the teen.