Man gets deferred sentence for fight at Aspen bar
December 22, 2009
ASPEN – A local man who faced up to 16 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder in Aspen won’t spend any time behind bars if he keeps his act clean for the next year.
The plea agreement for Mark Joseph Montijo, 38, resulted in guilty pleas to felony menacing and disorderly conduct, which were both deferred for one year. In exchange, the attempted murder charge was dropped.
At his sentencing hearing Monday in Pitkin County District Court, Montijo was ordered by Judge James Boyd to undergo evaluations for substance and alcohol abuse, as well as anger management.
Montijo also must perform 80 hours of public service, pay a $750 fine, and pay restitution and write a letter to the two victims of a brawl at Eric’s Bar in Aspen, in May. He also was sentenced to three months in county jail, but Boyd suspended that punishment on the grounds that Montijo not commit any criminal acts for the next year.
Montijo said he acted in self defense, and his attorney, Lawson Wills, claimed he struck both men because they had provoked him. The two men, Wills said, had accused Montijo of stealing one of their wallets, which was later found at the J-Bar.
One of the victims testified that Montijo hurt him so badly that he now suffers from a form of vertigo, which has caused him to miss work and suffer financially. The victim said he’s had to refinance his Basalt townhouse and his wife now works seven days a week.
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“This is a serious crime that has serious consequences for my family for the rest of my life,” he said.
In a brief statement, Montijo said he felt threatened and “I felt like I was going to be attacked.”
He later turned to the victim and said, “It was never my intent to cause you any injury, but I did act in self defense.”
Assistant District Attorney Arnold Mordkin originally charged Montijo with attempted second-degree murder. Mordkin’s reasoning was that Montijo kicked one of the victims in the head after flooring him with a punch.
Wills admitted that Montijo erred when he kicked the man, but asked for leniency and a one-year deferred judgment nonetheless.
Judge Boyd obliged, but reminded Montijo that he had a prior “history of getting into this kind of trouble” and needed to be accountable for his actions.