Man facing prison term for Aspen, Glenwood robberies
July 10, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A Carbondale man is facing between 10 and 18 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to robbing an Aspen taxi driver in February and a Glenwood Springs restaurant in March.
Justin Nathaniel Brink, 26, entered guilty pleas in two felony robbery counts, and admitted a probation violation in another case, in Garfield County District Court Thursday. One case occurred in Glenwood Springs while the other two were related to incidents in Pitkin County.
“I’m pleading guilty because I’ve made some bad decisions, and I’m trying to take some accountability for my decisions,” Brink told 9th Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Petre Thursday.
The pleas were part of a deal worked out by the Pitkin County and Garfield County district attorney’s offices.
Matt Barrett, deputy district attorney for the 9th Judicial District, said he had spoken with the DA prosecuting the Aspen cases and had come to an agreement to resolve all of the cases in Garfield County court at the same time.
Brink pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, a Class 4 felony, for the March 6 robbery at BB’s Wings ‘n’ Q in Glenwood Springs. Glenwood Springs Police arrested Brink, along with another suspect, Jesse Coleman, 24, of Aspen, while they waited for a bus to Aspen on Grand Avenue, shortly after the robbery.
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Coleman was never charged in the case. The DA’s office determined Coleman was not present or active in the robbery of the Glenwood restaurant. He was sentenced to six months in jail in March after pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft in a separate case.
According to a written statement from the restaurant’s owner, Janet Balcomb, Brink entered the restaurant and placed a large to-go order of food. While he waited for the order, he passed Balcomb a note indicating he had a gun and directing her to put all the money in the register on the table.
Balcomb said she handed Brink between $500 and $600. He then walked out of the establishment and ran off.
Brink also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery-menacing victim, a Class 3 felony, in connection with the holdup of an Aspen taxi driver. Brink reportedly collected $130 after he held a knife to the driver’s throat and demanded money on Feb. 21. He wasn’t charged in that case until he was already in custody for the restaurant robbery.
With the plea deal, Brink faces 10 to 18 years in the state prison system.
On May 20, Brink pleaded guilty to one count of forgery in Eagle County, where he received a three-year prison sentence. According to Barrett, that sentence was ordered to run concurrent with the Garfield County penalties.
Petre said that he did not have a problem accepting pleas in the Aspen cases, but he told both Barrett and public defender James Conway that he would like to confer with Pitkin County Judge James Boyd before sentencing.
“I’m not opposed to what Mr. Barrett is proposing, but if we do it now we’ll be seeing more of them in the future,” said Judge Petre.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 10.