Porter to seek treatment in wake of murder threat | AspenTimes.com

Porter to seek treatment in wake of murder threat

Tim Mutrie

A Vietnam War veteran convicted of a 1984 murder in Aspen attempted to plead guilty Monday to felony menacing for allegedly threatening to kill a man at Rubey Park in October.

Keith M. Porter, 53, is charged with two felonies related to the Oct. 22 incident, in which he allegedly held a knife to a man’s throat at the Aspen bus station. But Monday in Pitkin County’s 9th Judicial District Court, Judge J.E. DeVilbiss would not accept Porter’s guilty plea to menacing.

The judge said he preferred to wait and see how Porter fares in a 31-day drug and alcohol treatment program at a Nebraska Veterans Administration Hospital before accepting the guilty plea.

Postponing acceptance of Porter’s plea stems largely from the fact that if Porter is convicted on the menacing offense, the court would be forced to sentence him in the “aggravated range” of two to six years in prison, based on his 1984 second-degree murder conviction. Porter served a prison sentence for murdering Aspen resident Michael Hernstadt.

Porter’s attorney, public defender James Conway, initially asked the court to accept his client’s guilty plea, but then to release Porter prior to sentencing so he could attend the VA hospital treatment program beginning Jan. 6.

Both Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills and Conway expressed desire to structure an intensive probation for Porter, beginning with the VA hospital program.

“We are confident that the Veterans Administration Hospital will provide some substantial services for Mr. Porter and then he can reside with his family in Georgia,” Wills said.

According to police reports, during the Oct. 22 confrontation at Rubey Park that led to Porter’s arrest, he allegedly held a knife to another man’s throat and said: “I’m the baddest mother fucker here. I’ll kill you.”

Porter remains in custody at the Pitkin County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

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