Former Aspen resident pleads guilty to escape
ASPEN – Warren Carter finally found a deal he can’t run away from.
On Monday, the former Aspen resident pleaded guilty in Pitkin County District Court to the class-three felony charge of escape, which calls for four years in the Department of Corrections. That sentence will run consecutive with the three-year sentence he’s currently serving in state prison for stealing copper wire from a hotel in 2008.
The plea agreement comes after Carter and his court-appointed attorney, Peter Rachesky of Glenwood Springs, had gone back and forth with Assistant District Attorney Arnold Mordkin over the past few months about hatching a deal suitable to both sides.
It also comes after Carter’s arrest on July 12. That’s when authorities captured him after he bolted from the Pitkin County Courthouse following a sentence by Judge James Boyd for the theft conviction. Carter was on the lam for about 7 minutes before police and deputies captured him behind the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
But there had been a question as to whether Carter was actually in custody when he fled the courthouse, and a trial had been set for April.
And on Jan. 31, Rachesky filed a string of motions, including one for a special prosecutor. But with Carter’s guilty plea yesterday, Rachesky’s motions, which were set for court arguments Feb. 28, appear to be a moot point.
Carter, 46, was transported last week from the DOC to the Pitkin County Jail in order to attend Monday’s hearing, during which time Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely listened to an audio recording of the July sentencing hearing that preceded Carter’s so-called escape.
After Monday’s hearing, Carter and Rachesky left the courtroom and discussed his future in the courthouse hallway. Some 10 minutes later, they returned to the courtroom to announce they were willing to accept Mordkin’s offer of four years for a guilty plea to the escape charge.
That’s one year shy of a deal Mordkin offered Carter in October, when the prosecution agreed to putting Carter away for three years.
Mordkin said that because Carter turned down that the three-year offer, he was not willing to extend the same deal he made in October.
Even so, Carter doesn’t face the nearly 50 years behind bars he could have gotten had Mordkin filed the five charges of habitual criminal counts against him. As part of the deal, Mordkin dropped those counts.
More than two dozen separate cases had been filed against Carter in Colorado over the years – ranging from traffic offenses to felony forgery and burglary charges. He has been arrested or ticketed in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Garfield and Jefferson counties, data shows.
Carter also will be given 211 days credit for the time he served in the Pitkin County Jail. He’s due back in court in April for the sentencing hearing for the escape charge.
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