Man pleads guilty in Snowmass attack
Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN A Carbondale man pleaded guilty Monday to beating a man after a free Snowmass concert last summer. It was the most violent crime Snowmass Village has seen in years, prompting authorities to re-evaluate the safety of the concert series.Justino Iglesias Ochoa, 32, pleaded guilty to felony menacing as part of a plea bargain that may save him from going to prison.The victim, Snowmass resident David May, objected to the agreement, saying it was unfair to lessen the charge to a felony that does include a mandatory prison sentence. May said he sustained a concussion, broken nose, broken jaw, loss of feeling in one half of his face and other injuries in the apparently random beating.”I was left on the sidewalk as a bloody pulp, basically, and for what?” May asked after Monday’s hearing in Pitkin County District Court, in Aspen. “Next thing I know, I’m in the hospital, no idea what happened. I was like, ‘I got in a fight with who?'”According to Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols, May was walking toward a bus stop in Snowmass late at night when the attack happened. He had attended a Snowmass Free Summer of Music concert earlier in the evening.”The defendant, for no apparent reason whatsoever, simply hit him and continued to hit him until Mr. Ochoa’s friends pulled him off,” Nichols said at Monday’s hearing. “It was an unprovoked attack.”May stated that Ochoa had a blood alcohol level of 0.28; Nichols confirmed Ochoa was “very intoxicated at the time.”May also said Ochoa tried to flee the scene on a RFTA bus, though Snowmass Police stopped the bus and found him with bloodied knuckles. Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe said that partially because of the attack, his department will re-evaluate things like overconsumption of alcohol at the free concerts. “Review of the whole concert program is something we’ll be doing,” Smythe said. “It’s been a peaceful event over the years.”The sentencing hearing for Ochoa, out of jail on personal recognizance bond, will be at 1:45 p.m. Feb. 5; felony menacing carries a possible sentence of one to three years in prison and a $1,000 to $100,000 fine. Ninth District Judge James Boyd encouraged May to come to that hearing and repeat what he said about his injuries, as it likely will affect sentencing. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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