Defendant not guilty of car theft
ASPEN It took a Pitkin County District Court jury one hour Wednesday to acquit Robert Zimny of auto theft charges.Previously, Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols had alleged that there was “no hint of an agreement” for Zimny to pay for or borrow the 2006 Ford Fusion belonging to Susan Peetz.”We just felt there was a bit of a lack of evidence,” said foreman Chris Shepherd, adding that there were lots of holes in the case.Zimny and Peetz met last fall at a bar in Basalt, struck up a friendship, and Zimny moved in with Peetz, who was unable to drive because of drunken-driving conviction, Nichols said.Peetz alleges that Zimny stole the car on Oct. 19.”He said, ‘I’m going to Carbondale and coming back,’ and he didn’t,” Nichols said.Peetz reported the theft to Basalt police, and Zimny – who has two felony convictions and a record of using aliases – was apprehended in November in Park City, Utah.According to the defense, the vehicle was sold to repay an insurance settlement, and Zimny’s belongings were de-stroyed, including bank records that McCarty alleged could exonerate Zimny.Public defender Garth McCarty argued that because the car was sold and Zimny’s possessions destroyed, there was no evidence in the case, and McCarty poked holes in Peetz’s testimony.”They can’t put you inside the car,” McCarty told jurors. “How can they put you inside his mind?”McCarty said he has compassion for Peetz, who testified about struggles with mental-health and substance-abuse problems.”There is a lot of sadness there,” McCarty said.McCarty suggested to the jury that prosecution might have coached Peetz, and convinced her of things that didn’t happen.”Susan Peetz doesn’t know what to believe,” McCarty said.Shepherd said that because the incident occurred during a troubled time for Peetz, it made her testimony less credible.”We had a little difficulty with that,” Shepherd said.After the trial, Zimny, who did not testify, was taken into custody in the Pitkin County Jail on an unrelated charge.Charles Agar’s e-mail is email@example.com
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