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Hamilton arrested on 13 felonies

ASPEN – Aspen resident Jan Hamilton was arrested Wednesday on 13 felony counts connected to a string of allegedly threatening e-mails she sent to a church pastor and some of his congregation members. She was released later in the day after posting $40,000 bond.

The arrest of Hamilton, 69, is the latest episode in her ongoing saga in which she has accused at least one local church of banning her because of her sexual orientation, and filed dozens of lawsuits and restraining orders against Aspen residents, landlords, churchgoers and others.

Hamilton blames her adversaries on everything from sexual discrimination, retaliation and defamation to second-degree murder, claiming she is afflicted with a life-threatening illness because of stress they brought into her life.



Wednesday’s arrest stems from a recent slew of e-mails she fired off to Crossroads Church pastor Steve Woodrow, whom she allegedly threatened to sue if he did not serve as a witness in one of her pending cases. Woodrow told authorities that over the last six years he has received up to 10 emails a week from Hamilton, police said.

“Woodrow said he told Hamilton repeatedly not to send him any e-mails. Woodrow said the e-mails have caused him serious emotional distress,” according to a report filed by Aspen Police detective Ian MacAyeal.




Likewise, police say that ten other church members received similar emails – with the subject head “Future lawsuits” – to the ones she sent Woodrow.

Hamilton asked them, too, to testify for her, and allegedly wrote in the e-mails, “This part of the potential lawsuits I will file against you; the legal fees will be hard for you and your young families to pay in this tight economy.” She allegedly ended the e-mail by saying: “If you agree to serve as witnesses in other cases, I will not file against you.”

The e-mails prompted police to arrest Hamilton on four class-four felony counts of criminal extortion, three class-five felony charges of stalking, and six class-five felony charges of criminal attempt of extortion. She also faces one misdemeanor charge of violation of a protection order, after police, on April 15, spotted her within 100 yards of a Castle Creek home she’s forbidden to approach.

The 13 felonies, which have not been formally filed by the District Attorney’s Office, are among a host of other criminal charges Hamilton faces.

As recently as April 20, police arrested her on two misdemeanor counts of false reporting.

One count stems from an April 15 incident at the Pitkin County Courthouse. Hamilton reported to police that while she was in the courthouse hallway, she was assaulted by Aspen business owner Carl Bergman. But witnesses, including a deputy, told authorities that Bergman merely brushed up against Hamilton, and an assault did not occur. The incident happened during a break for a hearing in which Hamilton unsuccessfully tried to have restraining orders placed against Aspen residents Ralph and Marian Melville.

The other false-reporting charge came after she told police that her longtime nemesis Joanna Green entered her car on April 13 while it was parked in front of the FedEx building across from City Market. However, three police officers – including Chief Richard Pryor – were having lunch outside at The Butcher’s Block, which is in the immediate vicinity, and said they saw nothing to support Hamilton’s allegation.

Four days after the false-reporting arrest, on April 24, Hamilton emailed The Aspen Times, claiming the Aspen Police Department is corrupt.

“I am convinced that it was a set-up. [APD officials] Richard Pryor, Linda Consuegra, and Rick Magneson [sic] were sitting outside the Butcher Block [sic], across the street, having lunch. I went straight to them. They said they saw nothing,” she wrote.

She continued: “I am a victim of crime and the APD is burying their heads, Richard Pryor won’t talk to me. Linda Consuegra has banned me from the AP department, [Assistant Police Chief] Bill Linn is guilty of false arrest in the May 22, 2005 criminal trespassing felony arrest of me at the First Baptist Church. Steve Woodrow is homophobic as well as his flock.”

Hamilton also faces a felony stalking charge against a local woman, the same one who has a protection order that Hamilton allegedly violated April 15.

The stalking matter was on Pitkin County District Court’s April 18 docket. But as Hamilton approached the defense table, she fell to the ground. Authorities in the courtroom felt no need to call paramedics. But her public defender, Tina Fang, instructed Hamilton to remain on the courtroom floor until she collected herself. After a few minutes, Hamilton rose, sat herself at the defense table and sobbed, before given a trash container in which to vomit. Instead, she coughed into it, while a judge continued the matter to a later court date. That afternoon, Hamilton was back at the courthouse, researching her next legal step to take.

She’s due back in court Friday for an eviction hearing spurred by one of her landlords. Hamilton, meanwhile, is counter-suing the landlord for more than $1 million on the contention that she’s being discriminated against because she is a lesbian.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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