Alleged drunken hospital incident leads to nixed plea deal | AspenTimes.com

Alleged drunken hospital incident leads to nixed plea deal

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office received a judge’s permission this week to nix a plea deal for a man with a record of numerous felony and misdemeanor arrests starting in October 2013, when he was accused of aimlessly firing shots from a high-powered rifle in the Woody Creek area and then driving drunk.

After he agreed in February to what was termed a “global plea disposition,” Benjamin S. Levy, 28, of Glenwood Springs, was set to be sentenced Monday in Pitkin County District Court. That hearing got off to a rough start for Levy, however, when his attorney, Kip O’Connor III, told Judge Gail Nichols that he had filed a motion to withdraw as Levy’s counsel.

Also at the hearing, Aspen felony prosecutor Andrea Bryan said she had filed a motion to withdraw the plea agreement following Levy’s latest arrest, which occurred Feb. 14 after he allegedly showed up drunk at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and got into a verbal altercation with a relative who was seeking medical attention. The incident alarmed hospital staff, who called police.

Bryan’s motion outlines a string of legal problems leading up to Levy’s Valentine’s Day contact with police:

• Levy was arrested Oct. 25, 2013, for discharging a firearm and causing the bullet to travel through his apartment and into a neighbor’s apartment in the Woody Creek area. No one was hurt. He also was charged with DUI that same day. He contended there were blanks in the gun, but police disputed his claim.

• Three months later, he allegedly failed to report an Aspen accident that damaged his vehicle. He also reportedly was intoxicated and confronted a waiter in a downtown restaurant over a personal matter. Soon after, the court prohibited him from possessing or consuming alcohol.

• On May 8, Levy was cited for petty theft of the Target store in Glenwood Springs. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but failed to appear for his jail term. He was then given a community service sentence, but failed to complete it and ended up serving 45 days in jail.

• On May 9, he was arrested on suspicion of theft of the Alpine Quest Sports store in Glenwood Springs. He reportedly left the store with a bag full of items valued at more than $1,000. He also was allegedly intoxicated during the incident and got into an argument with a relative outside of the store, which led to a charge of harassment.

• On June 22, Levy was arrested on suspicion of DUI, violation of a protection order and leaving the scene of an accident after he hit a car in the McDonald’s parking lot in Glenwood Springs and fled the scene.

• On June 24, he was arrested again on a harassment charge after he allegedly got drunk and used force to attempt to prevent a relative from leaving him.

• On July 29, Levy was accused of violating two protection orders and bond conditions when he caused a drunken scene at the Safeway grocery in Glenwood Springs. Hours later, after bonding out of jail, Levy is said to have harassed a relative. Officers reportedly had to use a Taser device to arrest him.

• On Sept. 12, he returned to the Target store where he had been accused of theft in May, and was caught on video trying to disable an alarm wire from some merchandise — triggering the alarm.

Following Monday’s hearing, Levy was taken into custody by Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies because the Feb. 14 incident violated previous bond conditions. He is being held in the Aspen jail on $10,000 bond and was still in custody as of Wednesday evening.

Court documents suggest that Levy suffers from substance-abuse and mental-health issues.

andre@aspentimes.com


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