Aspen woman receives deferred sentence for second fight in three months
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – An Aspen woman who was found guilty of disorderly conduct in January after a December altercation outside the Escobar dance club was back in Aspen Municipal Court on Wednesday to face the same charge stemming from a February confrontation at The Regal nightclub.
Municipal Court Judge Brooke Peterson found Veronica Lorelle Wimm, 21, guilty in the most recent case. He gave her a one-year deferred sentence and ordered her to pay a $150 fine by April 9.
Police records show that Wimm was involved in a verbal and physical fight with another woman inside and outside The Regal less than an hour before the bar closed in the early-morning hours of Feb. 24.
Following a separate incident on Dec. 10 – a fight with a onetime Playboy model outside Escobar on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall – Peterson gave Wimm a six-month deferred sentence on Jan. 4 and ordered her to pay a $100 probation fee. Peterson on Wednesday did not address the issue of whether Wimm violated terms of his Jan. 4 decision with the newest conviction, only saying that Wimm’s one-year deferred sentence on the latest conviction would start immediately.
A deferred sentence usually means that the conviction is expunged from a person’s record provided that they stay out of trouble during the probationary term. In both instances, Wimm faced maximum penalties of as much as one year in jail and as much as $1,000 in fines.
“I do not want to see you back here again,” Peterson said at the conclusion of Wimm’s bench trial. “I do not want to hear about you threatening anybody. If that means that you really have to think about your actions when you go out — and whether going out is the right thing to be doing – you need to give that some serious consideration. … This kind of conduct has to cease.”
Wimm represented herself during the trial and at times was outspoken. She declined to question the other woman involved in the February altercation, 33-year-old Natalia Egoshina, of Aspen, calling Egoshina “a liar” who wouldn’t respond honestly. Earlier in court, Peterson handed Egoshina a one-year deferred judgment and a $150 fine for her role in the bar fight through an agreement worked out with City Prosecutor Jim True.
Their accounts of the incident differ. Wimm testified that she was at The Regal with two friends, celebrating a new job. She said she was served only one drink at the club that night and never finished it. She claims that she had a couple of beers at home before going out, first to Eric’s Bar and then to The Regal.
Wimm said she was dancing in the bar’s “shadow box” near the DJ booth when Egoshina’s boyfriend, Justin Hanson, kept bothering her. Hanson had testified earlier that he simply told Wimm that she was attractive but then left her alone.
Soon after, according to Wimm’s account, she stepped out of the shadow box and was confronted by Egoshina, a native of Russia who has lived in Aspen for six years. Both women said they had never previously met.
“She said something to me, thinking that I was flirting with him,” Wimm said. “I told her, ‘I don’t want your ugly boyfriend.’ I don’t know (exactly) what I said. I did say something rude, though. And she made a comment saying she would kill me.
“When she said that, I said, ‘I would love to see that happen.'”
Egoshina’s testimony differs. She claims an inebriated Winn confronted her on the dance floor with a crude comment about how Egoshina wanted to have sex with the DJ.
Wimm said she tried to leave the bar and began walking upstairs when Egoshina scratched her in the chest, drawing blood. She showed Peterson a photo of the injury, taken just hours after the confrontation.
“We left (the bar) and went up the stairs,” Wimm recalled. “I was standing there for not even a minute. I didn’t see her, and all of a sudden she just popped up in front of me. She grabbed my arm with one hand and clawed me with the other hand.”
True’s line of questioning centered on whether Wimm threatened to harm Egoshina. Earlier, police testified that Wimm yelled at Egoshina before, during and after the arrest of both women – even at the police station – with her arms thrashing about.
“I’m not stupid,” Wimm said. “I saw the police all parked right there. So I put my hands up. And yes, I started screaming because I saw blood coming down my chest. My friend grabbed me and pulled me away. My arms were flailing because I didn’t want him holding me. I was not going to hit her. … Yes, I did threaten to kick her ass.”
At one point during the proceeding, Peterson defined the legal definition of disorderly conduct after Wimm expressed ignorance about whether the charge could apply to someone yelling threats at another person.
True asked Wimm if she ever made physical contact with Egoshina.
“As you can see, I always have fake plastic nails on, and they cannot scratch,” Wimm said. “I’m guessing she was scratched by someone holding her back. … No, I never had any physical contact – even though I would like to – but I haven’t.”
Peterson chimed in, “That’s not going to help you, saying something like that.”
After the judge’s ruling, Wimm said she is raising a 3-year-old son and has been trying to stay out of trouble. True said he was not opposed to the court’s decision not to pursue a revocation on the earlier conviction but wanted to point out for the record “what appears to be (Wimm’s) aggressive nature at certain times.”
“People come here from other places and think they can be rude to everyone,” Wimm said. “I don’t put up with people coming up and scratching me. If someone scratches me, it’s just in my nature to threaten them. I’m sorry I can’t bite my tongue when I have blood dripping down my chest. Maybe I should take anger-management (classes) or something, but I think that’s something anyone would get mad about.”
Peterson told Wimm that it’s not her job to avenge being scratched.
“That’s why we have a police department,” he said.
“They obviously got there a little late because she already scratched me,” Wimm replied.
“You cannot always expect the police department to be right there when something happens. However, rather than escalating the incident, … you cannot take matters into your own hands, at all. That’s going to land you exactly where you are right now – in trouble,” Peterson said.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.