Crime suspect faces one less felony charge |

Crime suspect faces one less felony charge

John Colson

Local crime spree suspect Anthony Rizzuto’s prospects are slightly better today, after prosecutor Lawson Wills dropped one of the multiple felony charges against him Monday.

He now faces only one count of violating the conditions of his bond, which carries a mandatory sentence of one year in prison if he is found guilty, as well as three other felony cases.

Also on Monday, a local judge declined to reduce the amount of Rizzuto’s bonds on the remaining four cases, meaning he may have to stay in jail while awaiting trial.

Rizzuto, 20, is accused of being one of a dozen local teen-agers who went on a crime spree last year, allegedly committing everything from armed robberies to burglaries to car thefts.

Unlike some of the others charged in the linked cases, up until this month Rizzuto had not spent much time in jail.

He was arrested in early October 1999 on charges he took part in the burglary of a Twining Flats home, but got out of jail on Nov. 2 after his family came up with the $25,000 bond. Jailed again in mid-December on charges that he and another teen, Thomas Colver, robbed the Aspen Alps condominium complex at gunpoint, he was back on the streets on Dec. 21, this time on a $75,000 bond.

In March, police accused Rizzuto of hanging out with several others implicated in the crime spree at a party in the Brush Creek Village subdivision, which violated a “no contact” provision of his bond. He was arrested and jailed again, but bonded out immediately, according to jail officials.

But he was arrested Aug. 5 on a second bond violation charge. Police say he and Colver got into a fight at a party in Snowmass Village, and he has remained in jail ever since, with his bond on five different cases totaling $325,000. Of that, $150,000 is for the Snowmass Village bond violation charge because it contains three felony counts, which authorities say each warrant a $50,000 bond.

It was the first bond violation case that Wills dropped on Monday, telling the court vaguely, “We feel our time is better spent on associated matters.”

He noted that, in the March case, Rizzuto was alleged only to have been seen with others involved in the crime spree cases, whereas he is accused of disorderly conduct in the most recent case.

Along with dropping the charge, Wills’ decision means Rizzuto’s total bond on four felony cases is now $300,000. The fourth felony charge alleges that he had sex with a minor.

Rizzuto’s attorney, Denver defense lawyer Joseph St. Veltri, asked Judge DeVilbiss to reduce the bond further, arguing that the bond for the August bond violation charges should be $50,000, not three times that.

But the judge declined to grant the request, saying only that he would “take it under consideration for the moment.”

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