Man charged with attempted murder
August 18, 2012
ASPEN – Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin filed an attempted second-degree murder charge Friday against an Aspen drifter who police say stabbed his ex-girlfriend in the back. The alleged victim, meanwhile, continued to claim Friday that her injuries were not severe and provided hospital records to The Aspen Times in an effort to support her claim.
Mordkin’s four-count information against Marc Altman comes before the defendant is scheduled to appear Monday in Pitkin County District Court. Altman, 48, now is officially charged with attempted murder in the second degree, second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, and two counts of first-degree criminal trespassing. All offenses are felonies.
The charges were expected, after police arrested Altman in the early morning hours of Aug. 6.
After responding to the woman’s Truscott Place apartment unit sometime after 5 a.m., police found the alleged victim, Terry Lynn Decker, with “blood soaked through and saturated on her bathrobe and lower back,” according to an affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest, written by Aspen police Officer Peter Bauer.
Decker, 62, had a mark about 1-inch long “that I believed to be a stab wound that possibly came from a knife,” Bauer wrote.
She was hospitalized and released the same day.
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On Friday, Decker dropped by this newspaper’s offices with a type-written document she said was prepared by the physician who cared for her the morning she was allegedly stabbed. The document reads: “Impression: Superficial stab wound injury, left lower back/flank without evidence of penetration into retroperitoneal or abdominal cavity.”
Mordkin declined to talk about the case.
“I can say that the facts of the case warrant, in my opinion, the charges that I leveled,” he said.
Decker, however, has maintained all along that her injuries were not severe. Bauer said that Decker told the police officer that she had not been stabbed and was not bleeding. Likewise, Decker, when contacted by the Times hours after the incident, said it was not a “big deal” and she was neither hurt nor stabbed. And Friday she said, “There were two people in my house that night. I’m not sure who did it because I was asleep.”
Meanwhile, the Public Defender’s Office filed court papers earlier this week indicating its removal from handling the Altman case. That’s because the same office represents Decker in her assault case stemming from allegations that she struck Altman in the head with a hammer in April. A plea hearing is set for Sept. 17 in that case.
In a hand-written letter to the Times, Decker said she tried unsuccessfully in both October and March to persuade Judge Gail Nichols to authorize a protection order that would have prohibited Altman from having contact with her. “What am I supposed to do,” wrote Decker, who also has accused the Times of publishing erroneous articles about the alleged stabbing.
Incidentally, Decker, because of the alleged April hammering, was prohibited from having contact with Altman the morning he allegedly stabbed her. She has not, however, been charged for any wrongdoing in that matter.
The prosecution has also identified Decker as a witness, in addition to four other Truscott residents, including Karen Kincaid, court records show.
Kincaid, who has run afoul of the law numerous times in Aspen, told police that Altman came by her apartment after the alleged stabbing, Bauer wrote. There, Altman told Kincaid that he had stabbed Decker in the back, according to Bauer.
Kincaid also told police that she saw “multiple stab wounds” on Decker’s back, which prompted her to call authorities about the incident.
On Aug. 11, Kincaid was served with eviction papers from the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, which manages the affordable housing complex of Truscott. The Housing Authority claims that it did not renew Kincaid’s lease, which expired July 31; however, she continues to reside there, the authority claims in documents it filed earlier this month in Pitkin County Court.
Altman remains incarcerated in Pitkin County Jail on $50,000 bond.