Jurors to resume deliberations Monday in attempted sex assault trial | AspenTimes.com
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Jurors to resume deliberations Monday in attempted sex assault trial

After spending most of Friday afternoon deliberating the fate of a Basalt man charged with attempting to rape an Aspen visitor in the bathroom of a downtown bar last summer, jurors were sent home after 5 p.m. without coming to a verdict.

Deliberations will resume Monday morning.

Robert Marlow, 41, is charged with attempted sexual assault, false imprisonment and indecent exposure in relation to the incident, which occurred at Aspen Public House in the early morning hours of July 7.



Jurors received the case about 12:30 p.m. after lawyers concluded closing arguments and deliberated until about 5:20 p.m., when District Judge Chris Seldin called them back into the courtroom to check on their progress. At least two jurors indicated they had other obligations and could not continue the deliberations Friday evening, and Seldin sent them home for the weekend.

The 24-year-old victim in the case — a resident of Washington, D.C. — testified Wednesday that a drunken Marlow followed her in to a bathroom at Public House about 1 a.m., forced her up against the wall, blocked her from leaving, pulled down his pants and boxers and told her she couldn’t leave. The woman, who was convinced she was about to be raped, said she screamed, then kicked and punched Marlow before ducking under his arm and running out.




Marlow testified in his own defense Friday and told jurors he worked as a heavy equipment operator in Glenwood Springs during the day on July 6, then met a friend for two beers at a brewery nearby. He said he returned to his home at Aspen Skiing Co.’s tiny-home development — he worked for Skico as a lift mechanic the previous winter — in the mid-Roaring Fork Valley, where he ate and showered.

Marlow said he then drove to Aspen and went to Eric’s Bar, where he was employed as a security doorman but was not on duty that night, and had five beers and two shots. He also said he “scored” a gram of cocaine from a co-worker at the bar and did two or three “key bumps” in the bathroom.

Marlow testified that he’d done cocaine more than 50 times before, but that this time it affected him differently and made him sluggish and discombobulated instead of stimulated. Not long after ingesting the cocaine, he said his co-worker noticed he was very intoxicated and asked him to leave the bar “before you make an ass of yourself.”

“I definitely appeared pretty wasted to him,” Marlow said.

He then walked over the Aspen Public House, where he said he was thinking of doing more cocaine. He testified that he remembered sitting down at a table near the bathrooms and remembered getting up to go to the bathroom to do more drugs.

That was when Marlow said he remembered hearing a woman scream, but had “no clue what was going on.”

“Obviously there was a woman in the bathroom and she ran out the door,” he said.

He then left the bar after a bartender asked him to go, and walked around Aspen aimlessly looking for his car while hallucinating lights and colors until 4:30 a.m. When police showed up at his home two days later, Marlow said he didn’t know why they were there and thought maybe he’d gotten into a fight.

Prosecutor Don Nottingham, however, played a video of Marlow’s interview with an Aspen Police detective, where he said he remembered a girl screaming. Marlow then admitted he knew the police visit had to do with his interaction in the bathroom with the woman who screamed.

Marlow said he “froze” when he heard the scream and recalled the woman running out the bathroom door.

“Anybody that screams like that — it is terrifying,” he said. “Because it is an emergency sound. They were loud. They were very scary — like horror movie screams. It did scare me and it did make me freeze.”

Nottingham pointed out that Marlow appeared to remember many details of the night, except the 15 seconds when the victim screamed, kicked and punched her way out of the bathroom, the audio of which was recorded on a video surveillance camera outside the bathrooms. Marlow confirmed that he did not remember what happened inside the bathroom.

“Of course, that’s when his memory goes blank,” Nottingham said in his closing arguments. “If he wasn’t trying to sexually assault her in the Public House bathroom, what could he possibly have been doing? What other possible explanation can there be for that? There is none.”

Scott Troxell, Marlow’s public defender, cast doubt on the victim’s version of events, criticized police for not gathering DNA evidence or even photos of the victim’s alleged bruises and said the facts “fall short of what is alleged by the prosecution.” He said her clothes were not ruffled or stretched and that there was no proof Marlow committed any act of force on her.

“(The victim) was traumatized,” Troxell said. “But that doesn’t mean everything that came out of her mouth (in testimony) was the truth.”

He said Marlow never assaulted the woman.

“I ask you to find that Mr. Marlow did not commit any act of force on the victim,” Troxell said. “If anything, it was unlawful sexual contact.”

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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