Denver man admits felony after confrontation at Aspen restaurant with 85-year-old man

A confrontation over an off-color remark that turned violent and injured an elderly man outside a downtown restaurant a year ago led a Denver man to plead guilty to a felony Monday.

Charles Schaper, 51, was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation under the terms of a plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office, which calls for the felony conviction to be wiped from his record provided he stays out of trouble for the year. In addition to pleading guilty to felony criminal negligence resulting in serious bodily injury to an at-risk person, he also pleaded to misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

The plea deal also calls for him to serve 200 hours of community service.

After a confrontation inside the restaurant, Schaper told District Judge Chris Seldin he raised an arm in self-defense when the 85-year-old man confronted him outside, which inadvertently knocked the man to the ground. The elderly man suffered four broken ribs, according to reports at the time.

“I feel very, very bad about this,” Schaper said Monday, noting he’d never been in a physical altercation before. “I’m devastated this man in his 80s had these injuries. It’s completely out of character and not how I was raised. I deeply apologize to him if he should ever hear this.”

Pam Mackey, Schaper’s attorney, said the confrontation itself was minor and would likely have resulted in misdemeanor charges. However, the severity of the man’s injuries resulted in the felony charge. Mackey said Schaper had lost his job as a result of the incident and has been unemployed for nearly a year.

Prosecutor Don Nottingham, who noted that Schaper had no criminal history, said he spoke with the 85-year-old victim in the case, who decided that in light of the pandemic, he’d “rather spend time on the beach in Florida” where he lives than pursue the case in Aspen. The man’s injuries were painful and severe, though he is now “on the mend,” Nottingham said.

The altercation in November began inside a downtown Aspen restaurant when Schaper’s girlfriend leaned over a table where the elderly man was eating and he made a comment involving a “chopstick.”


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