News in Brief |

News in Brief

Eric Stoneman, the 14-year-old Battlement Mesa facing charges first-degree murder in the killing of Taylor DeMarco, 9, is scheduled to stand trial March 20.Chief Judge T. Peter Craven set the date for the trial, which is expected to run for two weeks, in a brief hearing in district court Thursday.Stoneman appeared in court without the customary shackles and handcuffs, wearing a blue Oxford cloth shirt and khaki pants. Stoneman’s charges, which include menacing with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a juvenile, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest stem from an incident on July 20 at the home of a third child, Eric Warde, 13, at 204 Carson Circle in Battlement Mesa. According to Warde, the boys argued on and off all morning. Stoneman left the home and returned with a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun and shot DeMarco in the chest after pointing the gun at Warde and at himself.Stoneman has said the shooting was an accident and has pleaded not guilty. He is being held without bond at the Grand Mesa Youth Detention Center in Grand Junction.Fourteen is the minimum age for charging a juvenile as an adult in Colorado. If convicted, he faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole. (From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

The Western Slope’s oldest ski swap will again take over the Aspen Middle School gymnasium Saturday.New and gently used adult and children’s winter sports equipment, clothing and accessories can be dropped off between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. today at the middle school. Local ski shops and vendors also participate, clearing out last year’s new and used inventories.Individuals who sell items receive 80 percent of the sale, and can claim their money and any unsold gear between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday. Any unclaimed items will be donated to charity. Trudi Barr and Pam Beck founded the Aspen ski swap 51 years ago so locals and their families could enjoy skiing at affordable prices.The swap also provides funds to purchase items for classrooms in the Aspen School District. The funding priorities are outdoor education equipment, athletic equipment and unique classroom needs the district budget doesn’t address. About 200 volunteers from the community run and staff the event.”You do find deals – there are tons of deals,” longtime swap volunteer Mary Ryerson said.Items include skis, snowboards, boots, bindings, clothing and helmets. Purchases can be made with either cash, check or credit/debit card.

A Pitkin County election official confirmed Thursday that the “phantom votes” in the Nov. 1 election were the result of a human error and did not affect any of the election results.Bryce Buttermore of the county clerk’s office said the tally sheets handed out to members of the public (and to local reporters) for Precinct 5, which encompasses Maroon and Castle creeks and the entrance to Aspen, were wrong.She said the totals for that precinct, including early voting and absentee voting, were combined with the regular ballot numbers to give the impression that 1,560 ballots were cast instead of the real number, 374.The error occurred when the vote counts were entered by hand into a spreadsheet program on a computer, which then printed out the informal results, she said. The mistake was not noticed until late Tuesday when the clerk’s office conducted a final run of the numbers to report the formal results.Elections officials sent the corrected numbers out to local media outlets late Wednesday.

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