Man with violent tendencies toward women sentenced
Former Snowmass Village resident Marc Westenburg is in jail today, although he clearly had hoped a local judge would free him to pursue “healing” to end what was said to be 20 years of violent behavior toward women.
Instead, Judge J.E. DeVilbiss put him in jail for 18 months on one charge and delayed sentencing on a second charge, saying at the end of a hearing on Monday, “We need to know more about what’s going on here.”
When defense attorney Mark Rubenstein asked the judge to delay sentencing so Westenburg could undergo a psychiatric evaluation, DeVilbiss said firmly, “Mr. Westenburg is not going to leave here today. He’s going to be taken into custody.”
Referring to testimony from two women that Westenburg is a dangerous man who has beaten and terrorized several women over the past 20 years, DeVilbiss said to the defendant, “You tried to kill at least one of the women we listened to today” and ordered him taken to the Pitkin County Jail.
Westenburg, 38, pleaded guilty last November to charges of menacing, a class five felony, and third-degree assault, a class one misdemeanor.
The charges arose from an incident last September, when Westenburg got into a fight with the woman he was living with at the time and put her through a night of terror, according to police reports and testimony in court on Monday.
The woman described to the court what she went through that night, starting with Westenburg dragging her across the floor of her Woody Creek apartment by her hair. He then proceeded to pummel her, kick her in the head and bash her head against the floor. At one point, he picked up a switchblade knife and hurled it into the wall directly above her head, she told the court.
Although she did not tell police at the time, she testified in court that Westenburg also forced her to have sex with him twice that night against her will. She was hospitalized the next day for treatment of her injuries.
Another local woman who was once in relationships with Westenburg, and who appeared voluntarily to testify against him at Monday’s sentencing, described similar alleged treatment at his hands.
“This was a sudden attack without warning,” she told the judge. “I feel I am lucky to be alive.”
She described it as “the most frightening thing I have ever experienced” and said she has suffered from periodic panic attacks ever since, adding, “I fear he will attempt to harm me” if allowed free on a probationary sentence. She also said he had stalked her and made harassing telephone calls to her home and business.
“If you release him to probation I will have to abandon my home, my practice and my life here,” she told DeVilbiss.
Westenburg, offered a chance to speak, told the judge he was in court in “complete humbleness” and admitted having done “most of” the things the women described.
He said he is “completely committed to find the hurt and pain in my life” and “uncovering certain roots” that drove him to commit violence. He proffered letters of support from various religious figures and community organizations he has turned to for help.
The judge, however, opted to pronounce sentence on the misdemeanor charge immediately and wait until Feb. 5 to complete the sentencing process. Westenburg faces up to three years in prison on the felony charge.
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