Suspect in Basalt assault requests preliminary hearing |

Suspect in Basalt assault requests preliminary hearing

Staff report

One of the suspects in an alleged Basalt assault case requested a preliminary hearing while a co-defendant reserved his right for such a hearing during separate court appearances Tuesday.

Mustafa Muhammad
Eagle County Jail

Mustafa Muhammad’s preliminary hearing will be held Sept. 24. Daniel “Danny” Wettstein will have a preliminary demand hearing Oct. 27, when it will be determined whether he wants to proceed with a preliminary hearing.

The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against the men Sept. 3. Both men are facing 14 charges, including three counts of first-degree assault. Authorities accused them of holding a man against his will at their Willits Townhouse in Basalt on Aug. 13 and 14 and beating him. The alleged victim suffered broken bones and lacerations to his face and other injuries to his body.

Daniel Wettstein
Eagle County Jail

The man escaped after crawling up a second-story window and requesting help from a neighbor. Wettstein surrendered without incident when police came to the townhouse. Muhammad surrendered nearly four hours after police were called. They brought in a SWAT team out of concern about weapons in the house.

Muhammad remains in custody in Eagle County Jail. Kevin Jensen of the Colorado public defender’s office in Dillon is representing him.

Wettstein bonded out of jail and is represented by attorney Michael Fox.

In Eagle County Court on Tuesday, Jensen said his client likely wouldn’t be able to bond out of jail so he wouldn’t waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days of charges being filed.

A prosecutor in the case told Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez that at least three hours would be needed for the hearing. A preliminary hearing is held for a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to require a defendant to stand trial on the charges.

Fox said Wettstein was willing to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days of charges being filed. He said he is just starting to receive discovery or notification of the alleged evidence against his client and expects to receive more in coming weeks. He said it was uncertain if Wettstein will seek a preliminary hearing. The judge allowed them to reserve that right.