Man gets six months for menacing woman at Aspen Store
The Aspen Times
A district judge sentenced a transient to six months in jail for a May incident in which an 18-year-old woman told police he threatened to pull a gun on her outside an Aspen convenience store.
Jeffrey Leroy Sween, 48, copped an agreement that included a guilty plea to misdemeanor menacing. In exchange, prosector Andrea Bryan dropped a Class V felony menacing charge.
Police arrested Sween on May 23 outside of The Aspen Store after the woman told authorities he threatened to pull a gun on her after she rejected his overture to go out for dinner. The woman also said Sween asked her where she attended school and drew a heart on her vehicle’s front-passenger window. Police found no weapons on Sween, but Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols said the events were troubling for the victim nonetheless.
“I just want to stress that while there was clearly a misunderstanding, there’s no reason to think that this lady was far off,” she said. “I’m going to leave it at that.”
That misunderstanding, claimed public defender Sara Steele, was that Sween was acting friendly toward the woman and wasn’t trying to harass her.
“Maybe he was overfriendly to her,” Steele told the court. “There was an allegation that he was drawing a heart on her car. He was actually trying to draw a smiley face … generally trying to be friendly, and for whatever reason she felt threatened by that.”
Steele said Sween remembered little from the incident — though he recalled the window drawing — and had no ill intentions.
“I have to accept what has happened,” Sween told Nichols.
Bryan said the woman was “terrified.”
“He was not armed with any weapons, but it doesn’t mean it had any less impact on her,” Bryan said.
Steele argued for work-release agreement so that Sween could leave jail to work at a local animal-related facility. Bryan successfully defeated that bid, arguing “that’s not practical under any circumstances.”
The judge agreed, giving Sween 25 days of jail credit for time he has already served. A protection order prohibits Sween from having any contact with the victim.
Sween has a criminal history that includes two felonies — one for drug distribution in 1996, the other for criminal impersonation in 2011 — and multiple failure-to-appear charges.
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.