Probation for sex offender who didn’t register in Aspen
A California man will spend the next year on probation after pleading guilty to failing to register as a sex offender when he moved to Aspen two years ago.
Michael Webber, 55, also pleaded guilty to the petty offense of public indecency because police discovered him walking the streets naked with white powder caked inside his nose and complaining of seeing snakes when he was arrested in May 2017.
In exchange for the guilty pleas in September, the District Attorney’s Office agreed not to ask for a jail sentence for Webber. In addition, his guilty plea to felony failure to register as sex offender will be wiped from his record if he completes the year of probation without getting into more trouble.
Webber, who will not be able to consume drugs or alcohol on probation, apologized for not registering in Colorado sooner and said he had “tremendous remorse” for his actions.
Webber pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery in Marin County, California in 2007, which mandated registration as a sex offender.
In other court news:
• A Basalt father who drove off Highway 82 with his 2-year-old daughter in the car in June was sentenced Monday to two years probation and 120 days in jail.
Lawrence Jones, 43, pleaded guilty in October to driving while ability impaired, child abuse and possession of cocaine in connection with the accident. He allegedly veered across all four lanes of traffic on the highway, went through a wooden fence and hit two trees on his way down a 150-foot embankment, police said at the time. Neither Jones nor his daughter were injured.
Jones apologized for his actions Monday and said he’s been through a treatment program and is now sober.
Prosecutor Don Nottingham asked District Judge Chris Seldin to sentence Jones to six months in jail, though the judge said he settled on 120 days so Jones wouldn’t be away from his family for as long.
Provided he stays out of trouble for the two years of probation, the felony drug possession charge will be erased from his record. Jones will be allowed to leave the jail during his 120-day sentence to work, but will have to return at night, Seldin said. He will be monitored for sobriety during the probation period.
• A 25-year-old man who kicked one emergency room nurse in the face and spit on another in February was sentenced Monday to three years probation and another 38 days in jail.
David Fletcher previously pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault in connection with the incident. He’d been found unresponsive at a bus stop in Aspen and taken to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment before the incidents with the nurses occurred.
“I’ve had doctors and nurses save my life before, so the fact that I hurt somebody like that scared me,” Fletcher told Judge Seldin on Monday. “It makes me want to change my ways.”
Seldin ordered Fletcher to be monitored for sobriety during his probationary period and undergo an anger management evaluation. He sentenced him to 90 days in jail, though he gave him credit for initially serving 52 days when he was arrested.
• A Los Angeles man who faced more than four years in prison after admitting in October to stealing a purse and using a credit card to buy $6,000 worth of gift cards was instead sentenced Monday to two years of supervised probation.
Virgil Buchanan, 40, told Judge Seldin he was in a strict treatment and sober living program in California, which he’s fully committed to completing. He said he’d been offered treatment before but had never taken it seriously, though this time he said he’s determined to conquer his addictions.
“I’m in a different space now,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan’s problems stemmed from substance-abuse issues, said Georgina Melbye, his Aspen attorney.
Seldin said he doesn’t usually grant probation to people like Buchanan with serious criminal histories. However, he said he was impressed with Buchanan’s commitment to remaining sober and praised the California sobriety program for being particularly effective. His probation will be transferred to California.
Buchanan pleaded guilty to first-degree trespassing and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device.
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In an excerpt from his new memoir, Mark Howard chronicles a life of personal and professional change across five decades in Aspen.