Suspended Aspen postal employee pleads not guilty to federal weapons charges |

Suspended Aspen postal employee pleads not guilty to federal weapons charges

Mauro Pennini

A suspended mail sorter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two federal charges connected to allegations that he had a handgun and switchblade knife at the Aspen post office.

Mauro Pennini, 56, waived advisement of the charges at a hearing at the U.S. District Court in Grand Junction.

The charges came down through a grand jury indictment, also issued Tuesday, for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a firearm in a federal facility. Pennini is being held at a Mesa County detention facility without bond. A bond hearing is set for today.

“Of course I’m going to try to get him out,” said Steve Laiche, a court-appointed Grand Junction attorney for Pennini. Laiche declined to discuss Pennini’s defense, only saying the not-guilty plea was entered because the federal court runs on a tighter schedule than the state one.

“The speedy trial clock is going, so you’ve got to get things moving,” he said.

If Pennini were to bond out of federal detention, he would be extradited to Pitkin County Jail, where there’s a $10,000 bond for similar local charges.

Aspen police arrested Pennini on June 8 at the post office after a person who had a protection order against him reported that he violated the no-contact order.

Police said Pennini had a switchblade knife in the left front pocket of his pants, while his backpack — found in the post office locker room — contained a handgun loaded with 14 rounds, two sets of handcuffs and 26 additional rounds of ammunition.

Pennini bonded out of jail after the June 8 arrest, but Aspen police arrested him again June 15 on harassment allegations. The alleged victim, also the protected party, told police Pennini threatened to kill her.

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