El Jebel man pleads guilty to robbing liquor store
A midvalley man pleaded guilty Wednesday to the most serious of the five charges he faced for the March 10 holdup of an El Jebel liquor store.
Rodrigo Ivan Aguilar, 18, of El Jebel, pleaded guilty in Eagle County District Court to aggravated robbery. Felony charges of menacing and attempted first-degree assault, as well as misdemeanor charges of violating a protection order and theft of between $300 and $750, will be dropped at a Nov. 19 sentencing hearing, said 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown.
Aguilar was 17 years old at the time of the crime. The Aspen Times identified him because he originally had been charged as an adult. Prosecutors will recommend six years in Youth Offender Services and that a sentence to state prison be suspended if he successfully completes the youth-system sentence, Brown said. A judge could order Aguilar to 10 to 32 years in prison.
Brown said it is common to drop other charges when a defendant pleads guilty to the most serious charge.
“Certainly it’s good that he accepted responsibility for the crime,” he said.
Brown noted that the victim in the case, who suffered psychological trauma but no physical injuries, won’t have to testify in a trial because of the disposition of the case.
Aguilar entered El Jebel Liquors at 5 p.m. on March 10 armed with a handgun and a knife, according to investigators with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. He ordered a female clerk to empty the cash drawer into a bag. He pulled the trigger on the gun but no shot was fired, according to investigators.
Aguilar fled on foot with about $400. His image was captured on surveillance cameras at the El Jebel Plaza. The Sheriff’s Office ran pictures in local newspapers and received tips on the identity of the robber. They picked Aguilar up at his home without incident three days after the crime.
Brown said his team felt it is the right path to seek the youth-system sentence.
“We think there’s a strong possibility of his rehabilitation within the juvenile detention system,” Brown said.
The suspended prison sentence could provide motivation for Aguilar to perform well in whatever juvenile-system programs he ends up in, Brown said, noting it is a “carrot and stick” approach.
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While the list of positive trends over the last year is short, one silver lining is that crime in Aspen dropped significantly.