Aspen man charged in driveway incident
ASPEN – Pitkin County’s head prosecutor has charged an Aspen man with three felonies in connection to an alleged February altercation he had with three teenagers on the driveway of his property.
Charles Ellis Hall, 57, was formally charged Friday with three counts of menacing with a real or simulated weapon along with three misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment. Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin filed the six-count information Friday.
Hall made his first appearance Monday with Aspen defense attorney Richard Cummins. On Tuesday, Cummins said that Hall acted lawfully at the time and perceived the teens as a threat.
“He was worried about his property and his own personal safety,” Cummins said, adding that Hall did not know the teenagers and “perceived (their presence) as a potential threat.”
The boys, however, contend they were lost and were simply trying to back out of Hall’s driveway before he pinned in the vehicle with his truck and threatened them with a gun.
That’s according to an affidavit from Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Kremer. Kremer reported that the Sheriff’s Office received a phone call at 9:38 p.m. on Feb. 3 regarding a disturbance in the driveway of Hall’s house in the Meadowood subdivision, near the campus of Aspen’s public schools.
One of the boys said that Hall had told them he had a gun, prompting Kremer to report to the scene some 20 minutes later.
There, Kremer saw a Land Rover driven by one of the three boys, two 17 years old and one 16, in Hall’s driveway. The vehicle was blocked in the driveway by a pickup truck that Hall had parked there. Hall told Kremer that the boys had been “aggressive” toward him and he believed they were trespassing on his property, according to the affidavit.
“Hall admitted that he had blocked the juvenile’s vehicle from leaving with his pickup truck,” Kremer wrote. “Hall began to get very agitated and escalated his behavior toward me, nearly yelling that it wasn’t fair that the juveniles were not going to be arrested and that people for years had trespassed on his property and that I wouldn’t do anything about this trespass.”
Kremer, however, said that the teens would not be arrested and suggested to Hall that he calm down, the affidavit says. Later, Kremer asked Hall whether he had threatened the boys with a firearm.
“He told me he had not done or said so,” Kremer said.
Realizing that Hall would not cooperate, Kremer directed an Aspen police officer to drive the Land Rover off the property and return it to one of the boys, the affidavit says.
Later, Kremer interviewed the juveniles.
One of them told the deputy that he was lost in the subdivision, and “when he pulled in to the driveway to turn around, he noticed a large pickup had pulled in behind him in the driveway, blocking him from leaving,” the affidavit says.
The boy said that Hall accused him of trespassing and called him a “f—ing punk” and deemed his two companions “punks,” as well. The boy also told Kremer that Hall placed his right hand into his partially unzipped jacket and said that he had a gun and knew how to use it, the affidavit says.
“(The boy) then told me that he was in fear for his life and that he ran off into the snow and scrub brush to get away from Hall,” Kremer wrote. The teen also told Kremer he thought he “was going to die at 17.”
Meanwhile, the other two boys stuck around momentarily before leaving, the affidavit says.
One of them told Kremer that “no car is worth my life, so we left.”
Cummins said Hall would not comment for this story. Cummins added that he had concerns about the case when Hall was initially arrested, on March 20, and posted $2,500 bond, court records show.
“We will be investigating this case, and we will try to get a disposition that’s appropriate,” Cummins said.
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