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Oldfield may plead today

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Barney Oldfield will appear in Pitkin County District Court this morning, possibly to enter a plea on drug charges filed against him after a fire gutted his Aspen apartment last summer.

Oldfield, 51, is charged with distribution of marijuana, possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police allegedly found the marijuana and paraphernalia in his apartment after a fire in the Aspen View condominiums on Midland Avenue at the end of June.

Oldfield’s attorney, John Van Ness, continues to question whether or not police overstepped their authority when they searched Oldfield’s apartment after the fire.

Van Ness originally asked the judge to suppress the evidence found in Oldfield’s apartment, charging that the search was unconstitutional. But Judge James Boyd ruled late last year that the majority of the evidence was legally found in the apartment by police. Last Monday, Van Ness filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his ruling.

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Oldfield is set to appear this morning in Pitkin County District Court, although Van Ness said Friday he wasn’t sure if his client would enter a plea.

Van Ness said he’ll talk to Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills this morning before knowing what the next steps are in the case.

“We also want to see what the judge has to say before making the next step ” there are many possibilities, but we’re ready for the next step, whatever it may be,” he said. “There’s no point in Barney making a guilty plea and then a week from now the judge agrees to suppress evidence.”

Oldfield’s former attorney, Gary Wright, pleaded guilty last Thursday to unlawful distribution of a prescription drug after police found bottles of drugs with Wright’s name on them in Oldfield’s apartment. According to Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills, two prescription bottles containing morphine and Demerol were found in the apartment.

Wright’s charge is a misdemeanor, and he’ll pay a fine and perform public service as part of his plea agreement. The plea jeopardizes his ability to continue practicing law.

A third Aspen resident plays a peripheral role in the arrests stemming from the Aspen View condominium fire ” John Satre, 56, was arrested in October for allegedly distributing drugs out of his apartment at the Aspen Country Inn, a senior housing complex. Oldfield was allegedly at Satre’s apartment the night the fire occurred.

The case against Satre is still pending.

Fire officials determined arson to be the cause of the fire, which began on Oldfield’s third-floor balcony. No arrest for the arson was ever made.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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