Men enter guilty pleas for trashing house, stealing shuttle bus
The Aspen Times
A man who trashed a house in the North 40 neighborhood during Christmas week pleaded guilty in Pitkin County Court on Tuesday to a felony charge of criminal mischief and a misdemeanor count of trespassing.
Paul J. Peak, 57, who lived at the house as a guest for the past 10 years, entered the guilty pleas under a plea bargain with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He is likely to receive a deferred judgment for the felony, meaning that the conviction won’t be entered as long as he stays out of trouble and completes a probationary period.
Though he wasn’t actually trespassing on the property, Peak acknowledged that he was pleading guilty to the misdemeanor in order to obtain the deferred judgment on the felony.
Sentencing was set for March 16.
Following his arrest Dec. 25, authorities said Peak broke windows, computers and other items. “He basically destroyed everything,” another man who was living in the house told The Aspen Times in a Dec. 27 story.
A sheriff’s deputy who investigated the incident also found bags full of empty wine bottles throughout the house, according to an arrest affidavit.
In other District Court activity Tuesday:
• A Snowmass Village man who was accused in December of stealing a shuttle bus from the town’s Daly Lane bus depot Nov. 26, and driving it while intoxicated abandoning it pleaded guilty to felony aggravated motor-vehicle theft and DUI.
Raymond J. Piche, 58, reached a disposition with the District Attorney’s Office on the felony in which he will receive a recommendation for a deferred judgment and probation. However, the DUI was his fifth, and he faces a minimum sentence of 60 days in county jail for his straight plea on the charge.
Sentencing was set for April 6.
• Judge Gail Nichols declined to lower the $75,000 bond amount for a man whom prosecutors describe as a habitual criminal.
Jeffrey A. Key, 50, was arrested Thursday and has 11 pending felony counts and five misdemeanors, according to Aspen police. He allegedly stole cash and used credit cards to ring up purchases at City Market in Aspen and other businesses.
Key has served five separate prison sentences for theft-related transgressions occurring between 2005 and 2011, authorities said.
“Your criminal history indicates you are a danger to the community because of your number of convictions,” Nichols said.
His next court appearance was set for March 2.
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