Former inmate claims Aspen assault suspect confessed to her
ASPEN – A woman testified Tuesday that the Carbondale man being tried for sexual assault and other crimes in Aspen confessed to her while she was an inmate at the Pitkin County jail.
But in an effort to devalue her credibility as a witness, defense lawyers for Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun, during cross examination of Theresa Hanson-Harrison, noted she faces 11 felony charges in three states for prescription-drug fraud.
Tuesday was the fourth day of testimony in the trial of Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, of Carbondale, who faces up to a lifetime in state prison if convicted of the sexual assault charge. He also is being tried for the felony counts of kidnapping, assault on a police officer, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.
Authorities believe the alleged victim, against her will, performed at least three sexual acts with Gonzalez-Loujun. They also claim Gonzalez-Loujun dragged her to a snowbank and sexually assaulted her, threatening to kill himself with a gun if she didn’t comply with his demands.
The trial resumes Wednesday, and Judge James Boyd implored attorneys on both sides to try to wrap up the case by the end of the week, as at least two jurors have other commitments early next week.
Several hours of testimony Thursday focused on Hanson-Harrison, who was initially booked into the Pitkin County jail on Oct. 23 for allegedly committing prescription-drug fraud at Carl’s Pharmacy. She bonded out four days later, but was back in Nov. 20 for allegedly violating terms of her bond conditions. Again, she was released before being booked a third time Dec. 30. She bonded out March 1.
While incarcerated, she and Gonzalez-Loujun often talked, testified Hanson-Harrison, whom public defender Tina Fang referred to as a “jailhouse snitch” in Thursday’s opening arguments.
Hanson-Harrison said that at one point he told her about the events leading up to the alleged transgressions of Jan. 17, 2009, outside of Aspen’s Centennial Apartments complex. Hanson-Harrison recounted that the suspect told her he had mixed alcohol with anti-depressants and cocaine.
“He said he had been partying with his ‘homies,'” she testified. “He had sold some coke and had done some coke.”
Gonzalez-Loujun also allegedly told Hanson-Harrison that he traveled to Aspen that day from Carbondale, and followed the alleged victim home on the bus before sexually assaulting her.
“He said he wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t done the drugs,” Hanson-Harrison testified.
The defendant also tried to rid himself of DNA evidence by discarding it in the snow, Hanson-Harrison told the 12-member jury panel. He also told Hanson-Harrison that the alleged victim was “dumb because she could not remember anything,” according to testimony.
“I said that happens when you have a traumatic incident,” Hanson-Harrison said. “He said, ‘Yeah, right.'”
During cross-examination, public defender Stephen McCrohan picked away at Hanson-Harrison, and broke the news to her that she’s also wanted in Arizona on prescription-drug fraud charges. All told, there are 11 pending felony cases against Hanson-Harrison, including two in Pitkin County.
While Hanson-Harrison discussed facts of the Pitkin County case, the prosecution has granted her immunity by not holding Tuesday’s statements against her in future proceedings. However, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights by not discussing the charges against her in another state.
McCrohan also reminded Hanson-Harrison that she has bounced at least 16 checks in the Aspen area, including one for $425.60 to a downtown clothier, and another for $259.06 to a hair stylist. She has yet to face criminal charges for the bad checks.
Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin also called Aspen police officers Rob Fabrocini and Leon Murray to the stand Thursday. Fabrocini, who’s scheduled to be cross-examined Wednesday morning, recounted when he wrestled Gonzalez-Loujun to the ground after the suspect allegedly had an altercation with Murray.
Murray was the first officer to encounter Gonzalez-Loujun, after police were dispatched to the Centennial Apartments following a 911 call about the alleged rape. Murray testified that he noticed the suspect walking along a nearby street, some 15 feet away from another woman who was a friend of the alleged victim. The woman, Murray testified, was looking for her friend, who had fled to a neighbor’s apartment where officer Kirk Wheatley consoled her.
Murray said he became suspicious of the suspect, then approached him and asked him to provide identification. Gonzalez-Loujun opened his wallet but would not produce an ID, Murray said.
Eventually the two got into a scuffle, and Murray said he was pinned to the ground by Gonzalez-Loujun. Murray said he repeated commands to the suspect to get off of him and that he was under arrest.
“I’d been knocked for a loop,” Murray told jurors. “I was in a daze.”
Murray testified his flashlight fell off of him, and the nearby woman pointed the light on the two, “telling us to stop.”
During the scuffle, Fabrocini was at the neighbor’s house where the accuser had sought refuge. When he received a distress call from Murray, he went to the scene and brought down and eventually arrested Gonzalez-Loujun. Other officers also had arrived on the scene by then, and a search of the suspect allegedly yielded 14 small baggies containing cocaine, Fabrocini testified.
The defense has already conceded that Gonzalez-Loujun was in possession of cocaine, but they contest the distribution charges. They have contended that when he was booked into jail, only $6 was found on his person, an indication that he was not in the business of selling cocaine.
Hanson-Harrison, however, testified that the suspect told her he made a living selling coke.
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