Aspen woman gets probation for hammer assault |

Aspen woman gets probation for hammer assault

ASPEN – An Aspen woman who struck her ex-lover in the head with a hammer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault Monday in Pitkin County District Court.

The plea agreement for Terry Lynn Decker included prosecutor Andrea Bryan dropping charges of domestic violence and a felony charge of second-degree assault. Bryan said the bitter history between Decker and Marc Altman has played out in the courtroom, and it appeared that this was another instance.

“The court is quite familiar with both Ms. Decker and Mr. Altman,” Bryan told Judge Gail Nichols. “There appears to be underlying substance issues for both individuals.”

Bryan said there was “an element of self-defense” when Decker, 62, struck Altman with a hammer in April at her Truscott Place apartment unit. Police said Altman’s head was bloodied at the time.

Public defender Lauren Koenig said Decker had called the Aspen Police Department one day before the hammer incident to complain that Altman had been harassing her, and “she told the police she would defend herself.”

The judge noted that Decker and Altman need to avoid each other as well as substances.

“I hope you understand that it’s in your best interest to stay away from him,” Nichols said. “Just like it’s in his best interest to stay away from you. The two of you seem to get each other in trouble all the time.”

Nichols sentenced Decker to supervised probation, which includes no alcohol or marijuana use.

Altman, 49, meanwhile, is on probation for stabbing Decker in the back in August. He pleaded guilty to felony menacing and misdemeanor assault on Jan. 21 after spending more than 170 days in Pitkin County Jail.

On Feb. 7, less than three weeks after he was released from custody, police allegedly found him hiding in Decker’s bathtub, triggering a violation-of-protection-order charge. Altman is currently out of jail. The new charge is pending.

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