Accidental gun discharge in Aspen leads to probation
A Morrison man who said he accidentally dropped his gun while drunk last fall, causing it to fire a round through the glass door of a nearby apartment building, will spend the next two years on probation, a judge decided Friday.
Robert Lindgren Jr., 35, pleaded guilty Friday to prohibited use of weapons, reckless endangerment and driving while ability impaired, all misdemeanors, in relation to the incident, which occurred in October. Because Lindgren had no prior criminal history, prosecutor Donald Nottingham agreed to recommend a probation-only sentence. And because Lindgren reporting quitting alcohol for good and taking full responsibility for his actions, District Judge Chris Seldin allowed him to serve unsupervised probation.
If Lindgren remains free of trouble during the two years on probation, the guilty pleas will be wiped from this record, according to his plea deal.
“I want to apologize to the citizens of Aspen,” Lindgren said in court Friday. “This was an accident, but it was easily avoidable. I will be forever grateful no one was injured.
“I hope to learn from my mistake that alcohol and guns don’t mix.”
According to police, a witness inside the apartment building at 625 E. Main St. reported seeing Lindgren extend the weapon “in a shooting position” after allegedly arguing with his wife outside their camper, which was parked on the street.
However, Lindgren’s attorney, Lawson Wills, told the judge a different story Friday.
Lindgren and his wife were in town celebrating their anniversary and went out for drinks and dinner. Afterward, they returned to the camper where they planned to sleep, but the camper door wouldn’t open, which led to a “war” between Lindgren and the door, Wills said.
That likely gave the witness the impression Lindgren and his wife were fighting, he said. Once inside, Lindgren undressed and his 9mm handgun fell out of a new holster he’d recently purchased, dropped to the ground and fired, Wills said.
The couple, who were drunk, are not big drinkers and have since completely sworn off alcohol, Lindren said.
“My wife and I pledged never to consume alcohol again,” he said.
Lindgren’s wife also told the court the couple was not arguing and that Lindgren has never threatened her.
Lindgren also will pay $2,137 in restitution for the shattered glass
In other court news:
• A 51-year-old local woman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in connection with an alleged incident in December involving an 81-year-old relative.
Leslie Speck told District Judge Chris Seldin that her relative, who suffers from dementia, attacked her and she had to hold her down, which caused bruising.
The relative reported to police in December that Speck threatened to burn down the woman’s house and kill her, according to a police affidavit.
Speck could face up to two years in jail for the plea, though prosecutor Donald Nottingham agreed not to object to a probation-only sentence. Speck will be sentenced next month.
• A 58-year-old Carbondale woman pleaded guilty Friday to felony DUI after prosecutors verified she’d been convicted of driving drunk or while her ability was impaired four previous times.
Nancy Collins faces between 90 and 180 days in jail if she is sentenced to probation. If Judge Chris Seldin decides to send her to prison, she faces up to six years behind bars.
Collins was convicted to DUI in Pitkin County in 2009, driving while ability impaired in December 1999, DUI in January 1999 and DUI in Boulder in 1993, according to court documents. Her latest DUI occurred in August 2016.
“I’m sorry to say, your honor, that that is indeed true,” Collins said after Seldin asked her about her previous convictions.
Under Colorado law, a fourth DUI is considered a felony.
Collins is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
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Andrew Huntsman and Ralph Smalley were chosen by the seniors to give the class address during Basalt High School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday. This had the two BHS teachers questioning the legitimacy of those diplomas they were about to hand out.