Colver gets six years in prison
Thomas Colver, one of the last of a dozen local youth to be tried on charges stemming from a crime spree in Aspen last year, was sent to prison for six years on Monday.
Colver, 20, pleaded guilty in early September to robbing a bookkeeper at the Aspen Alps Condominiums office at gunpoint on Aug. 6, 1999, and was found guilty by a jury in July on drug charges not related to the robbery charge.
He also was ordered by Judge J.E. DeVilbiss to pay a total of more than $5,300 in restitution, including a $4,300 counseling bill racked up by the bookkeeper in trying to get over the incident.
Colver was believed by police to have been working with another teenager, Anthony Rizzuto, in the Aspen Alps robbery. Rizzuto is facing charges in four separate cases, including the Aspen Alps incident.
Prosecutor Lawson Wills called only one witness to the stand on Monday – night auditor Renee Ryan, 22, of Rifle, who was pregnant with her second child on the night that Colver and his accomplice rushed into her office and demanded money.
“He said, give it to me or he was going to blow my f-king head off,” a nervous Ryan told the court on Monday, describing herself as fearful and weeping while the robbery took place.
She also recalled pleading with the gun-wielding robber, saying, “Please, God, please, God, no, no,” and telling Wills from the witness stand, “I think he needs to be punished for what he did, for putting me through this.” She did not identify Colver as the gunman, however.
Colver, standing before the judge, said, “I got involved with the wrong group of people. … I’m terribly sorry for what I did. Right now I feel more focused than I ever have in my entire life. I feel I’ve learned my lesson.”
His mother, Dominique Colver, pleaded with the judge to show “mercy and understanding … and compassion” in his sentencing, maintaining that the robbery and drugs were “just a big mistake that he made.”
But Wills called Thomas Colver’s statements about the robbery “a dodge of his responsibility” and spoke of “the terror one must feel” when placed in Ryan’s position.
As for the drug charges, Wills disputed Colver’s contention that he had no idea that he was carrying, according to police, enough psilocybin mushrooms to get nearly 20 people high when he was arrested on Aug. 14, 1999, by police during a routine traffic stop. According to Wills, Colver claimed in a note to the judge that he was ignorant of the mushrooms’ qualities.
“The jury didn’t buy it, the court didn’t buy it, and certainly I don’t buy it,” Wills declared, unsuccessfully pressing for an eight-year sentence.
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Amid the pre-Thanksgiving gloom of grim pandemic news here in Aspen, across Colorado and the mountain west came a small but significant dose of hope in the unlikely form of an Aspen Music Festival and School announcement.