Judge rules Arroyo can stand trial | AspenTimes.com

Judge rules Arroyo can stand trial

There is enough evidence to charge Martin Arroyo with criminal mischief, a judge ruled Monday after a brief preliminary hearing.

Arroyo, 37, is charged with criminal mischief, menacing and harassment after his ex-girlfirend told police he was “going ballistic” and breaking things at her house. Arroyo has chosen to represent himself, saying that he has a conflict with the attorneys in the public defender’s office.

The victim in the menacing case, Pam Branson, told police on July 31 that she was arguing with Arroyo in their shared Aspen home that afternoon when he pinned her against the refrigerator and yelled at her, then threw and broke items in the house.

Arroyo told Judge Jim Boyd yesterday that he was not able to subpoena his ex-girlfriend and the police officers that he wanted to use as witnesses for the preliminary hearing, since he remains in custody at the Pitkin County Jail. Boyd declined Arroyo’s request to continue the hearing.

In Monday’s hearing, Aspen Police Detective Brian Heeney testified that he saw broken glass, a computer and a printer and parts of a vacuum cleaner on the floor of the home. He also said that when Arroyo later saw him and Pam Branson at the house after she had reported the incident, he screamed profanities at her and was taken to jail.

For his cross-examination of Heeney, Arroyo suggested that maybe someone else had come into the home when Branson was going to talk to police when he wasn’t there, and broken Branson’s possessions, as if trying to frame him.

Arroyo is also the alleged victim in an attempted murder case in Pitkin County. Aspen resident Donald Branson, 54, is accused of slashing Arroyo’s throat last April and planning to leave him for dead in a remote location near Old Snowmass. Pam Branson, who reported Arroyo’s alleged menacing and violent behavior in July, is Don Branson’s ex-wife.

Attorney Kerry St. James, assistant district attorney in Steamboat Springs, has been brought in to handle the case as a special prosecutor.

Boyd said there was probable cause for Arroyo to face trial on the felony count of criminal mischief. Arroyo said he will once again represent himself at his arraignment, set for Jan. 5.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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