Attempted-murder charge hangs over alleged stabbing
August 8, 2012
ASPEN – An Aspen man faces a second-degree attempted-murder charge in the wake of accusations that he stabbed a woman in the back early Monday morning.
Mark Alan Altman, 48, was advised Tuesday in the chambers of Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely, who set bond at $50,000 for the transient. Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin also indicated that he plans to file felony charges of second-degree assault and first-degree trespass, along with a domestic-violence count. All charges are pending and have yet to be filed formally.
Police allege that Altman stabbed a woman in the lower back. After responding to the woman’s Truscott Place apartment unit sometime after 5 a.m., police found the woman, Terry Lynn Decker, with “blood soaked through and saturated on her bathrobe and lower back,” according to an affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest, written by Aspen police Officer Peter Bauer.
Decker, 62, had a wound about 1 inch long “that I believed to be a stab wound that possibly came from a knife.”
Decker was hospitalized Monday and released later in the day.
Mordkin said that “we’ve grabbed the evidence” from the scene, including the knife authorities believe Altman used to stab Decker.
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Bauer said that Decker told the police officer that she had not been stabbed and was not bleeding. Likewise, Decker, when contacted by The Aspen Times on Monday, said the incident was not a “big deal” and she was neither hurt nor stabbed.
While Decker is the alleged victim, she also faces potential criminal charges related to the incident.
That’s because of an episode in April when she allegedly struck Altman, her ex-boyfriend, on the head with a hammer, also at Truscott, which is off Highway 82 between the roundabout and the airport. Decker has been charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, and her plea hearing is set for Sept. 17.
As part of bond conditions in that case, Decker is prohibited from consuming alcohol or having contact with Altman. Bauer’s affidavit says when he spoke to Decker “she smelled of an unknown alcoholic beverage.” Decker also told Bauer that she had not seen Altman in months, the affidavit says.
Mordkin said Decker’s role in the alleged stabbing incident “might” trigger a bond-violation charge, which is a felony that carries a mandatory one-year prison term.
Meanwhile, Bauer wrote that he arrested Altman after he saw him lying on the ground outside the apartment unit of Truscott resident Karen Kincaid. Kincaid, who has run afoul of the law numerous times in Aspen, told police that Altman came by her apartment after the alleged stabbing, Bauer wrote. There, Altman told Kincaid that he had stabbed Decker in the back, according to Bauer.
“She told Altman to leave her apartment and he refused,” Bauer wrote. “She had to close her windows because he was breaking through the screens.”
Kincaid also told police that she saw “multiple stab wounds” on Decker’s back, which prompted her to call authorities about the incident.
When Bauer arrested Altman, the officer noted that he “was highly intoxicated and spoke thick-tongued and with slurred speech.”
Public defender Laura Koenig represented Altman at the advisement hearing. Mordkin said a conflict of interest exists because the Public Defender’s Office also represents Decker in her assault case, which means that Altman likely will need a court-appointed attorney.
If convicted of the attempted-murder charge, the most severe count, Altman faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment, with a maximum term of 22 years.