Aspen teen: Man threatened gun on me
The Aspen Times
A Glenwood Springs man with a spate of recent arrests faces a felony charge after he allegedly threatened to pull a gun on an 18-year-old woman because she refused to go to dinner with him.
Police arrested Jeffrey Leroy Sween, 48, late Thursday night at The Aspen Store, where the incident allegedly occurred shortly after 9 p.m.
He appeared Friday in Pitkin County District Court, where Judge Gail Nichols advised him that he faces a Class V felony menacing charge. Nichols set his bond at $5,000, given Sween’s criminal history, which includes two felonies — one for drug distribution in 1996, the other for criminal impersonation in 2011 — and multiple failure-to-appear charges. Nichols also placed a mandatory protection order that forbids Sween from having any contact with the woman. Sween said he doesn’t know who the accuser is.
Aspen police also arrested Sween earlier this year on suspicion of trespassing at an Aspen bar as well as for two court appearance no-shows, while Glenwood Springs authorities fingered him for petty theft in February.
Sween, who rode into court in a wheelchair — he said he suffers from rheumatoid arthritis — denied the accusations, calling the case against him “character defamation.”
Nichols cautioned him not to speak about the case, but Sween, who didn’t have a lawyer, said, “This girl makes up all these accusations. It’s completely lying.”
The judge said the evidence against him “is fairly convincing. … There is a danger to the community if you continue to act like your were charged with acting.”
According to an Aspen police arrest affidavit, a woman contacted authorities after she had gone to the station to get gas and chewing gum.
While there, two men were sitting on a bench in front of the convenience store, “looking at her as if they were ‘predators,’” says the affidavit, which was written by officer Ritchie Zah.
The woman was frightened by their presence, left the immediate vicinity and spent five to 10 minutes in the store’s bathroom hoping they would be gone when she returned to her vehicle.
One man had left, but Sween remained, the affidavit says. He then allegedly approached her, asked her where she went to school and if she would have dinner with him.
The woman continued to pump gas, and Sween allegedly approached her, scaring her to the point that she removed the gas pump and spilled gasoline on her shoes, the affidavit says.
The woman subsequently got in the vehicle to leave the store, but Sween allegedly approached her again and drew a heart on the front-passenger window, the affidavit says.
Sween then asked her for 50 cents, which she didn’t have, and later allegedly said, “I could pull a gun on you if you didn’t go to dinner with me.”
The woman then left the scene, scared, and went to her boyfriend’s family’s house. From there, she called police and told her boyfriend “and his family what had happened while in tears,” the affidavit says.
But as the incident unfolded, the girl used her iPhone to take photos of Sween, which she provided to police. Police were aware of his identity and tracked him down at approximately 11:16 p.m. at The Aspen Store. He was then arrested and taken to the Pitkin County Jail.
Sween appeared baffled by the charge.
“I’ve been very responsible, which is why I’m highly confused,” he told the judge.
Prosecutor Andrea Bryan said the incident shook the woman up.
“She was really terrified by what he said to her,” Bryan said. “She indicated to us she’s very afraid what might happen when he’s released.”
Sween said he gets a monthly disability payment of $773. He said he lives in the homeless shelter in Glenwood and occasionally will reside in a motel room.
He is due back in court June 1.
A district court judge Thursday dismissed the remaining criminal counts against the owner of a Basalt-based chiropractor office who had been under grand-jury indictment for allegedly cooperating with one of his massage therapists accused of sexually assaulting clients.