Aspen bar fight could result in felony charge
A Front Range man might be charged with a felony in connection with a bar fight that took place early Thursday morning, a prosecutor said.
But as of Thursday afternoon, Patrick Corse, 24, of Westminster, was charged with only misdemeanors — assault and violation of a protection order. However, one of the victims in the fight was seeing a specialist Thursday and might have an orbital fracture, which could raise the assault to felony level, said Sarah Talbott, a Pitkin County prosecutor.
Two other men arrested with Corse for allegedly attacking two men at Belly Up — Brandon Rhodes, 23, of Tybee Island, Georgia, and Sean Hughes, 23, of Savannah, Georgia — were both charged with misdemeanor assault, according to court documents. Hughes and Rhodes were issued court summons and were released from jail early Thursday, but Corse refused to sign the summons and spent the night in jail, according to documents.
Aspen Police officers were called to Belly Up, 450 S. Galena St., at about 12:40 a.m., according to a police report filed in district court in Aspen. Corse approached Officer Seth DelGrasso with a beer in his hand and told him the fight started after Corse had purchased a round of expensive shots for his friends, the report states.
Corse told the officer he saw two people “tussling,” which caused the shots to spill. Corse “stated that he stood back and did not do anything,” the report says.
But surveillance video from Belly Up showed Corse, Rhodes and Hughes assault a 32-year-old man and a 35-year-old man, according to the police report, though Corse initially tried to prevent a fight from happening. “However, Mr. Corse grabs (the 35-year-old man) around his neck from behind in a chokehold,” according to the report. “Mr. Corse then hits (the man) numerous times in the face and head with his right fist.
“Mr. Corse also grabs (the man) by his hair and then slams him to the ground.”
At the bar before he’d seen the video, DelGrasso told Corse he was being arrested for violating a protection order that forbids the consumption of alcohol, as well as assault. Corse told him the shots were for his friends, denied drinking a beer and said he was not involved in the assault, the report states.
In court Thursday, Talbott characterized the fight as a “very aggressive assault” and told Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely the protection order against Corse was the result of a felony assault from Jefferson County. He is currently on six months’ probation, she said.
Corse also has twice failed to appear for court dates in the past five years, and Talbott asked for a high bond.
Corse told the judge he used to live in Carbondale and now runs a company that sells clothes, pottery and glassware at festivals, concerts and farmers markets.
“I’m not aggressive,” he said. “Things got out of control. I love my parents and I love my life and I’d like to do whatever it takes to make amends.”
Fernandez-Ely ordered him held in lieu of a $5,000 cash or surety bond. If he posts the bond, he will have to enter into a contract with a local nonprofit for sobriety monitoring and not possess weapons, alcohol or drugs, the judge said.
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The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is taking the lead in trying to close a gaping hole in the investigation of crimes in the upper Roaring Fork Valley by purchasing license plate-reading cameras likely to be used at the chokepoint entry and exits to Aspen.