Aspen man could be facing life in prison |

Aspen man could be facing life in prison

Local crime-spree suspect could spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted of having sex with a minor, according to statements made in court Tuesday.

The man, 20, is charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl, in addition to facing charges of armed robbery, burglary and violating the conditions of his parole on two different occasions.

All five of the cases against him involve felonies, but the newest charge is the one that could put him away for life.

Prosecutor Lawson Wills, while discussing the suspect’s legal situation with District Court Judge J.E. DeVilbiss in court, noted that the law governing such cases was changed recently.

Having sex with a child is a class four felony, Wills said, and until last year carried a possible penalty of eight years in prison. He said the law now gives the trial judge broad discretion in deciding the sentence, including the possibility that a defendant can be sentenced to spend “a maximum of his natural life” behind bars.

The news was received without comment by the suspect and his attorney, Joseph St. Veltri of Denver, who were in court Tuesday to ask Judge DeVilbiss to reduce the man’s bond of $325,000. The judge declined.

The bond is a reflection of the number of cases filed against him. In each of the five cases he is facing, the judge ordered that he pay amounts ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 if he wants get out of jail while awaiting trial.

The suspect had been free on a bond of $125,000 prior to his arrest last week on bond violation charges. But those bonds were revoked after his most recent arrest.

He had not paid the new bond amount, or arranged for a bondsman to pay it for him, as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The man is charged with being one of two masked teenagers, one armed with a gun, who robbed the Aspen Alps condominium office in August of last year. He also has been charged with being one of several teens who burglarized a home on Twining Flats in September.

The crimes were part of a series of incidents attributed to a dozen local teenagers last year. Five of the teens have been sent to prison for terms ranging from three to 12 years.

He also is accused of twice violating the “no-contact” provisions of his bond agreements, which prohibit him from any contact with his alleged accomplice in the armed robbery, Thomas Colver, 19. Both men have yet to be tried on charges related to the crime spree.

According to police, the 20-year-old man and Colver were seen together at two different parties, one in March at Brush Creek Village and the other on Aug. 4 at the Pokolodi Lodge in Snowmass Village.

The charge of having sex with a minor is unrelated to the crime-spree cases or the bond violations. It arises out of allegations by a local mother that her 14-year old daughter had sex with the 20-year-old man at his home.

St. Veltri informed Judge DeVilbiss Tuesday that he would not be representing the suspect in the sexual-assault case.

He noted that he had already talked it over with Wills and that this decision was for “reasons that are personal. I decline representation in any case where there is an alleged child victim.”

Editor’s note: As part of The Aspen Times’s “Right to be Forgotten” policy, this story was amended in May 2022 remove the suspect’s name as the sexual assault charges were dropped. 

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