Attempted second-degree murder charge filed Friday
ASPEN – The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed an attempted second-degree murder charge Friday against an El Jebel man Aspen police arrested on allegations that he got in a car chase with his ex-girlfriend and tried to run down her male companion.
The day after his Dec. 15 arrest, Jamie Lee Patton, 24, was advised by a judge that the prosecution had planned to charge him with attempted first-degree murder, among other offenses. But on Friday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin decided to ratchet down the charge to attempted second-degree murder. A first-degree charge would have indicated that authorities believed Patton’s crime was premeditated; second-degree implies that Patton had not planned the attempted killing.
“I had the opportunity to look at it with greater analysis,” Mordkin said, when asked why he did not pursue a first-degree charge.
If convicted of the second-degree charge, Patton would face a prison sentence of four to 16 years. That’s in contrast to the 16- to 24-year sentence that accompanies a conviction for an attempted first-degree murder.
Mordkin also filed five other felony charges Friday against Patton: attempted assault in the first degree, two counts of menacing – real or stimulated weapon – and two offenses of stalking. Additionally, Mordkin filed misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief, harassment and driving under restraint against Patton.
Friday’s formal filing of charges come as Patton, who is out of jail on $20,000 bond, is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Pitkin County District Court. He has hired form prosecutor Lawson Wills of Snowmass Village. Wills could not be reached for immediate comment Friday.
Mordkin has contended that the attempted murder charge is supported by the male accuser’s claim that Patton’s Jeep Cherokee grazed him.
A six-page affidavit in support of police officer’s warrantless arrest of Patton outlines the allegations, which started when Patton was driving to work on Highway 82 and he noticed his ex-girlfriend driving another vehicle about three cars behind him.
Police say Patton followed the car, in which the passenger was a male, running several stop signs to stay behind.
The ex-girlfriend then stopped her vehicle on the side of Red Mountain Road about 50 yards before the turnoff for Willoughby Way. Patton pulled his vehicle up next to his former girlfriend’s and told her passenger to get out of the car and “fight him like a man,” the affidavit says.
Patton then drove away, but turned around and headed toward the woman’s vehicle. It was at that time that authorities believe Patton attempted to kill the man.
“[The man] got out of his car and walked toward Patton’s vehicle then attempted to talk to Patton. Patton accelerated his Jeep Cherokee and attempted to run [the man] over with his car,” the affidavit says, based on the woman’s statements. The woman also told police that Patton was driving 30 mph, and at one point the man moved to the left to avoid the Jeep.
“[The male] then worried that he might die, jumped to the right, Patton swerved to his left in order to still hit [the man],” the affidavit says.
The man then got back in the woman’s vehicle. Patton subsequently threw what the accusers said was a wrench at the woman’s car, denting its left rear door, the affidavit says.
The woman and man later drove to the Aspen Police Department to file a complaint against Patton. He was arrested at his place of employment later that morning.
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