Aspen man gets probation for home rampage |

Aspen man gets probation for home rampage

When Paul Peak appeared in court over the holidays, he appeared haggard and disheveled and faced allegations of trashing a home in which he had resided free of charge for a decade.

On Monday, Peak, 57, was clean-cut and told a judge he was ready to start “a new era.”

“(The victims) don’t understand I am truly beyond remorse. It’s a new definition of that,” he told Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols. “I think forgiveness is something that’s going to take a while here.”

Nichols sentenced Peak to two terms of supervised probation — one for one year, the other for two. The terms will run concurrently, during which time Peak is under court order not to drink alcohol or smoke cannabis.

Peak was to be released from Pitkin County Jail after more than 80 days of incarceration for charges related to criminal mischief following his Christmas Day arrest for breaking windows, computers and other items at a home in the North 40 subdivision. Peak had lived at the home of Michael Stranahan for 10 years and didn’t hold down a job during that period.

He told the judge he’s ready to get to work, preferably in the charity field.

“I’m not a person with physical violence toward humans,” Peak told Nichols. “I don’t even kill flies; I have a habit of letting flies out the window.”

Aspen resident Charles Abbott, who also was residing at the home at the time of Peak’s outburst, said two of his laptop computers, which he used for work, were destroyed.

“The viciousness of destroying someone else’s computer, namely mine in this instance, is incomprehensible,” he said.

Peak said he blacked out the night of the incident, mainly because he was consuming alcohol and had a mental breakdown.

Public defender Sarah Steele represented Peak.

“He’s ready and motivated to get out and get a job and be a member of the community in a productive way,” Steele said.

In other court news Monday:

• Nichols sentenced Jill Pasternack, who is in her early 40s, to concurrent supervised probation terms totaling two years for swiping items from her friend.

“This is not my character,” Pasternack said. “This is out of character for me.”

Pasternack said she would like to spend six months in a Jewish mental-health program in Chicago to address her issues.

Nichols said that could be problematic because Pasternack would be out of state while on probation.

“You certainly have the opportunity to make your life better and prove to the world that this is not you,” Nichols said.

Police said Pasternack took some of her friend’s belongings when she was helping the friend move to California last fall. Among the items she swiped were a Louis Vuitton handbag, wallet and gift card.

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