Basalt carpenter guilty of assault | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt carpenter guilty of assault

Chad Abraham

A Basalt man who was found guilty of third-degree assault for attacking a man outside a midvalley sports bar in August asked for and was granted a new trial Tuesday.Michael Peabody is a carpenter who acted as his own attorney during the Dec. 15 trial in Pitkin County court. Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely found him guilty of misdemeanor assault last week, but not guilty of disorderly conduct.Peabody was arrested on Aug. 7 after he and two other men punched and kicked Tim Kieffer of Basalt outside Stubbies, a bar in Basalt. According to one witness, Peabody and Kieffer nearly came to blows inside the bar before their dispute moved outside.Kieffer and a friend, Brian Andres, were unlocking their bicycles to leave the area when Peabody and the two men ran outside and attacked Kieffer, according to Andres’ testimony.”Tim said, ‘Call the police, there’s going to be trouble,'” Andres testified.He said the two men, who were never identified, held Kieffer as Peabody punched him repeatedly. They then wrestled the victim to the ground.”Right there it got ugly,” Andres said. “They were stomping him and punching him in the ribs. Tim was pretty much defenseless.”Kieffer and Andres both said the assailants next dragged Kieffer across the parking lot.”I could feel and hear them dragging me across the pavement,” Kieffer testified, staring at his assailant.Kieffer eventually got to his feet, but was then punched hard in the face by one of the unidentified men. The punch knocked Kieffer out and apparently gave him a concussion.”It just looked like his legs were just gone,” said Blake MacDougal, owner of Stubbies.MacDougal said he broke up the verbal argument in his bar. He said he asked Kieffer to leave and then tried to get Peabody to drop the matter.”[Peabody] seemed all right with it,” he said.At last month’s trial, Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills showed a picture of Kieffer’s knees and hands after the assault.Basalt police officer Penny Paxton, who later arrested Peabody, testified that she treated the victim.”He was extremely incoherent. He had an extremely swollen eye and a bloody nose,” Paxton said. “I was concerned about his welfare.”During his December trial, Peabody sharply questioned Paxton about her actions after she took him into custody. “Is it standard procedure to embarrass someone in public?” he asked her.After arresting him later that night, Paxton apparently drove Peabody back to Stubbies for identification by witnesses. She said in court that doing so is standard procedure. She also said Peabody, when questioned at his home, first told officers that the scrapes on his knuckles were from his carpentry work. But he then told Paxton he had injured his hand on the stairs at Stubbies.Wills seized on the discrepancy in Peabody’s story during his closing argument. “Mr. Peabody acted like a guilty man,” the now ex-assistant district attorney said.Fernandez-Ely agreed, at least on the assault charge, but yesterday scheduled a new trial.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com


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