Man gets 4 years for crime 4 years ago |

Man gets 4 years for crime 4 years ago

John Colson

A man busted four years ago in Aspen for possession of cocaine and for threatening another man with a knife was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

Jason Armstrong had been wanted for nearly two years after fleeing the state in 1998, according to testimony before Ninth Judicial District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss.

He was arrested on unrelated charges in North Platte, Neb., late last year and returned to Colorado when Nebraska officials discovered he was wanted by Aspen police.

Armstrong, 27, was arrested in November 1997 after he was reported to be waving a knife at a man in the bathroom of the Red Onion, according to a news account at the time. Although he had left the Onion by the time police arrived, he was recognized outside Club Freedom a short time later, and when police searched him for the knife, a “bindle” of cocaine reportedly fell out of his stocking cap.

He served 55 days in jail and was placed on probation. He ended up in a halfway house but was kicked out after a couple of months when he was caught using drugs, according to testimony in court. He then reportedly fled the state.

According to public defender Jim Conway, this was Armstrong’s only felony conviction. And while Armstrong is “addicted to cocaine,” Conway continued, he has matured while on the lam and has learned to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Conway asked the judge to sentence him to two years in prison, giving him credit for the 190 days he has spent in jail since being arrested last year.

But the judge had other ideas and told Armstrong that “your addiction is one of the substantial concerns … in effect, you are holding yourself prisoner.”

He said Armstrong must “decide, one moment at a time, one day at a time … not to use drugs and alcohol.”

And, the judge noted, “Drugs are one thing, but showing people knives is another. I think it’s an indication of how sick you are.”

He sent Armstrong to prison for four years with credit for time served and ordered him to pay more than $1,800 in court costs, including the cost of extraditing him from Nebraska.

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