Grand jury indicts homeless man in Aspen
ASPEN – A grand jury has indicted a local homeless man on four felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor – after a judge ruled in June there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute him on the same charges.
The indictment marked the latest in a string of felony accusations against Landin Guy Smith, who also was charged Monday with five felony counts for assault of an Aspen police officer and a sixth felony for violating bail bond conditions.
Smith, 44, appeared in the chambers of District Judge James Boyd on Monday regarding the grand jury indictment. Through his attorney, public defender James Conway, he waived advisement of the charges. The four counts reflect an incident in which Smith allegedly supplied alcohol to a 15-year-old girl in February while they were hanging out at downtown Aspen’s fire hearth.
“We do object to this method and the manner in which [the indictment] was returned,” said Conway, via speaker phone.
Conway said the public defender’s office plans to challenge the indictment with a motion that will “articulate the reasons” it is without merit.
Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin took the case to the grand jury after Boyd threw out the charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The grand jury, apparently the same one that has convened to hear evidence regarding the November carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of a Denver family of four, returned its four-charge indictment Aug. 5. Smith was arrested, in jail, Friday on a warrant stemming from the indictment, court records show.
After the hearing, Mordkin said he felt the grand jury route was the proper one to take after Boyd dismissed the contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges.
“We feel we did the right things in the right manner,” he said.
Smith was released from the Pitkin County jail in August after posting $1,000 bond after being in custody since March 25. He had remained in jail through last month because he still faced a charge of unlawful sexual contact involving a minor, which was connected to the same case in which he allegedly provided alcohol to the minor.
As a condition of his bond, Smith was ordered to abstain from alcohol and drug use.
But on Aug. 13, according to an affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest, Aspen police received a report that he was “acting disorderly and disturbing people” at Koch Lumber Park.
When officer Robert Fabrocini arrived on the scene, he asked Smith if he had been drinking, to which the suspect allegedly replied, “No.”
Fabrocini, who filed the affidavit, said Smith also refused to take a breath test. Fabrocini then phoned Mordkin, who told the officer to arrest Smith for violating the bond conditions, the affidavit says.
When Fabrocini told Smith he was under arrest, “Smith refused [to put his hands behind his back] and started swearing at us,” Fabrocini wrote.
As Fabrocini and another officer, Chance Williams, took hold of Smith’s arms, he “resisted and started to kick at us and attempted to pull his hands away.”
Smith continue to resist, then kicked Fabrocini in the upper left thigh. Officers put him on the ground, chest down, but Smith wouldn’t not comply, Fabrocini wrote. After police put the suspect in a police car, he tried to bite Fabrocini, the officer wrote.
“As I pushed on his chest and simultaneously pulled my head away I could feel pain as some of my hair was ripped out, as Smith bit on it with his teeth,” Fabrocini wrote in the affidavit. “Smith again pushed forward with his head and attempted to bite down on my face as I was backing away from him. I leaned back, and he snapped his jaw shut just about an inch from my face.”
Smith was restrained when Fabrocini pinned his chest to the front seat and officer Leon Murray held his shoulders from the back seat, “preventing Smith from attempting to bit me again,” Fabrocini wrote.
The suspect was eventually secured and stopped resisting, according to Fabrocini’s report.
Officers then searched a brown paper bag, which allegedly belonged to Smith, and found a crushed can of Red Bull energy drink, a container of orange juice and two bottles of Gordon Vodka.
Smith has been charged with four Class IV felonies of assault in the second-degree, police officer; two Class IV felonies of assault in the second-degree, police officer in custody; one Class VI felony of violation of bail bond conditions; and separate misdemeanor counts of violation of a protection order and resisting arrest.
A cash surety bond of $5,000 has been set for the grand jury charges, and another $50,000 for the police officer assault case.
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