Judge finds homeless man incompetent to stand trial
A 24-year-old homeless man who was arrested four times in the summer and early fall for increasingly bizarre, drug-fueled behavior has been found incompetent to stand trial, a judge said Tuesday.
Nicholas Olson must now be restored to competency before three separate felony cases against him can be resolved, said District Judge Chris Seldin.
Molly Owens, Olson’s public defender, asked the judge to release Olson from the Pitkin County Jail so he could be restored to competency without being in state custody. Olson could live at a homeless shelter in Aspen during that time, Owens said.
Prosecutor Sarah Oszczakiewicz objected to that course of action, saying Olson’s mental health and substance-abuse issues make his release back into the community inappropriate.
Seldin, who previously let Olson out of jail only to see him back in a matter of days or weeks, agreed. In addition to Olson’s mental health and substance-abuse problems, it is unclear if local resources exist to restore Olson to competency, Seldin said.
Consequently, Seldin ordered Olson to be taken back to Pueblo, where doctors will attempt to restore him to competency.
Olson’s latest legal troubles began in July, when he was arrested for methamphetamine possession after a police officer saw him spinning in circles downtown and possibly “dropping his pants.” He was arrested the following month for meth possession after officers found him inside a restaurant early in the morning.
In mid-September, Olson was taken to jail after he made lewd sexual remarks to a female police officer while wearing nothing but a pair of headphones downtown. Eight days after that, he allegedly stole a wallet from a hotel room and was found to be in possession of a powder that tested positive for heroin, though a police officer later shed doubt on whether it was actually heroin.
In other court news Tuesday:
• A 39-year-old New Castle man was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for stealing more than $7,200 worth of jewelry from an Aspen apartment in August 2015.
Eric Reynolds, who is already serving an unspecified sentence at a state prison in Buena Vista, pleaded guilty in October to felony burglary and faced as many as six years in prison.
Reynolds told Seldin in October that he was high on heroin when he entered the apartment and stole the jewelry. His fingerprint was found at the scene and he later told police he woke up in Aspen around the time of the burglary with a shopping bag full of jewelry but couldn’t remember where he got it.
• Mental health authorities in Pueblo will continue to try to treat a 60-year-old Aspen Village man so he can eventually stand trial for breaking into one house and trying to break into another in October 2015.
Doctors in Pueblo are trying to restore William Hallisey to competency, said Owens, his lawyer. However, Seldin said he was concerned that even if Hallisey is restored to competency, his condition might not last when he’s transferred back to the Pitkin County Jail to await trial.
Hallisey allegedly broke into a home on Snowmass Creek Road and stole a set of keys. He then tried to break in to another home on Watson Divide Road where a woman was home alone with her two young daughters.
Hallisey frequently shows up to court wearing an eyepatch either on his forehead or over his eye and often yells at the judge and prosecutor. He has referred to himself as “shaman” and said during a court appearance in October 2015 that he is “not a normal human being.”
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.