Attempted murder charge dropped in Aspen man’s plea deal
ASPEN – An Aspen man avoided decades in prison Monday when an attempted first-degree murder charge was dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to felony menacing.
Aaron Michael Anderson, 34, now faces two to six years in the Department of Corrections. He originally faced eight to 32 years behind bars for the criminal attempt to commit second-degree homicide, and four to 16 years for a second-degree assault charge.
Anderson appeared willing to accept the plea deal because of the risk he faced by standing trial for the attempted murder of his then-girlfriend.
“He has not necessarily accepted the fact that he menaced,” said Anderson’s attorney, public defender Stephen McCrohan. Anderson told District Judge James Boyd, “I’m pleading guilty and I’m guilty to the crime. So, yeah …”
Anderson was arrested Sept. 3, an hour or so after he allegedly punched, elbowed and pinned down the woman, who suffered cuts to her eye, ear, cheekbone, right foot, right shin, right forearm, abdomen and throat. He also allegedly told the woman that “I will drive you up Independence Pass and throw your body off a cliff so no one can find you. I will then kill your mother.”
However, in a preliminary hearing in October, the alleged victim testified she felt Anderson, who worked at a downtown restaurant and a lodge, was not going to kill her.
Additionally, while police and prosecutors have said that Anderson wielded a kitchen knife on the victim, she testified that it was a butter knife and he did threaten her with it.
“I wasn’t really afraid, but he was kind of out of control,” she said at the time.
The victim also suggested that she had a role in the altercation, which began when Anderson discovered she had taken $25 in cash from his pants pockets while he was sleeping in his employee apartment at the Independence Square Lodge.
The alleged victim testified she took the cash to buy gas to drive up Independence Pass, where she met her mother at the top. When she returned to Anderson’s place after the visit, he confronted her about it, and made demands for $500 and drugs, the alleged victim testified.
Anderson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled Jan. 4. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted in California for an alleged parole violation.
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