Local man who wanted to die receives help, support | AspenTimes.com

Local man who wanted to die receives help, support

After he was arrested four times in less than two months last year, Nicholas Olson told a local district judge he’d given up all hope and wanted to die.

On Friday, a far-healthier looking Olson, 25, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation for charges he racked up during that period, and should be on his way to a Colorado recovery facility by the end of the month.

“I’m proud of you,” District Judge Chris Seldin told Olson.

Olson has a “deep and complex history of trauma,” including early childhood in a Russian orphanage as well as mental health and substance-abuse problems that surfaced later, said Molly Owens, Olson’s public defender.

But during his incarceration at the Pitkin County Jail, Olson made significant improvements, she said. One of the most major occurred recently after he was released from jail and soon realized he was spinning out of control again, Owens said.

Olson had the presence of mind to revoke his own bond and return to jail in a important moment of self-realization and maturity, she said.

“I’m so proud of him for making that call,” Owens said.

Olson’s sister also appeared in court Friday and said she’d re-established contact with him recently after three years, which Seldin praised as a significant development in his support system.

Olson was arrested in July and August on suspicion of methamphetamine possession. Aspen police arrested him again in early September and charged him with indecent exposure after finding him wandering naked downtown and making unusual statements.

Less than two weeks after that, he was arrested again for allegedly stealing a man’s wallet from his hotel room and drug possession. It was after that arrest he told Seldin, “I’ve given up all hope. I want to commit suicide now. I just want to die.”

He pleaded guilty to felony trespassing and drug possession in association with those cases and will spend the next two years on supervised probation. However, if he completes the probationary period without committing new offenses, the felony will be wiped from his record and the drug possession charge will change from a felony to a misdemeanor, prosecutor Tony Hershey said.

He will be held at the Pitkin County Jail until later this month when a bed at a “supportive residential community” in eastern Colorado becomes available, Seldin said.

Prior to those arrests, Olson’s run-ins with police were mainly petty offenses associated with homelessness.

jauslander@aspentimes.com


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