Independence Pass hostage-taker enters not guilty plea 16 months later | AspenTimes.com

Independence Pass hostage-taker enters not guilty plea 16 months later

Staff report

After nearly a year and a half in jail, the Colorado Springs man charged with holding three men at gunpoint on Independence Pass pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges against him.

The case against Brolin McConnell, 31, sat in limbo for several months this spring and summer because the District Attorney's Office appealed a Pitkin County District judge's decision in February reducing or dismissing three charges against him.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in August that District Judge Chris Seldin should have allowed two counts of attempted first-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted first-degree murder to stand against McConnell. Those charges were then reinstated.

In addition to those charges, McConnell also faces another count of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and 10 counts of felony menacing.

A trial date for McConnell will be scheduled later this month.

McConnell allegedly took two men hostage on Lincoln Creek Road the evening of July 27, 2016, and allegedly repeatedly threatened to kill them with two handguns he was holding. McConnell later took another man who drove up hostage, as well, and allegedly fired a bullet at that man's feet and another next to his head.

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All three men were able to eventually run away from McConnell and he was arrested without incident.

In June, the three men — Brian Buchanan, Mark Meredith and Blake Ramelb — sued McConnell in Aspen District Court. McConnell engaged in "extreme and outrageous conduct" and negligently inflicted emotional distress on the three men, the lawsuit states.

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