Attempted murder suspect back in jail |

Attempted murder suspect back in jail

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A man arrested in April for allegedly slicing another man’s throat was arrested again Thursday afternoon on the Mill Street mall for violating conditions of his bond, police said.

Donald Branson, 54, was arrested just around 2 p.m., after his ex-wife called 911 to report that he was outside of her home.

Branson is accused of first-degree attempted murder after allegedly trying to slice the throat of Glenwood Springs resident Martin Arroyo near Old Snowmass. He is also charged with first-degree assault.

Branson posted bond, and one of the conditions of his release was to avoid any contact with his ex-wife. Branson had been living with family in Texas, but returned to Aspen last week for a preliminary hearing.

According to Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley, Branson’s ex-wife, Pamela, called 911 at 1:40 p.m. yesterday, saying she had seen Branson’s shadow through a curtain. She said she opened the curtain and saw her ex-husband walking down the side of the house toward the front door.

She said she ran to the front door and bolted it, and her ex-husband left the area.

Three officers saw Donald Branson walking near McDonald’s restaurant on the Mill Street mall, approached him and arrested him without incident, Crowley said. Branson didn’t say anything during the arrest, he said.

Police arrested Branson in April outside of the Aspen Club after a 30-minute manhunt. According to the arrest affidavit, Arroyo told police Branson had taken him to a rural area near Old Snowmass under the guise of recovering a friend’s stuck car.

While the two were walking to find the car, Branson came up behind Arroyo, grabbed him and sliced his throat just under his chin with a knife, Arroyo said. The victim was able to wrestle Branson away and run, flagging down a motorist for a ride to Aspen. The gash required numerous stitches.

According to the police report, Arroyo had been dating Pamela Branson at the time of the attack.

Donald Branson’s attorney, Gary Lozow, asked Judge James Boyd on June 4 to disqualify Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills from prosecuting his client, claiming several conflicts of interest.

Judge Boyd is expected to make a decision on the request Monday. Crowley said the judge will set a new bond for Branson this morning.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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