Threats to Snowmass police chief lead to four-year prison sentence
A Snowmass Village man was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for sending threatening emails to a local police chief just days after the man was let out of prison early because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before Jeremiah Casper begins serving those four years behind bars, however, the 43-year-old must finish serving the two-and-a-half-year sentence for burglary and theft he was on parole for when he committed the email-related crime against Snowmass Village Police Chief Brian Olson last year, District Judge Chris Seldin ruled.
“You’re a bad drunk,” Seldin said, noting that Casper was intoxicated when he sent the emails to Olson. “When you get drunk you do bad stuff. You do dumb stuff – like knuckle-headed stuff. Then you get out of the Department of Corrections, you got wasted and you started firing off these emails. These emails are vicious and concerning.”
A Pitkin County jury convicted Casper last month of felony stalking and misdemeanor harassment in connection with the emails sent to Olson in late April 2020. He faced between two and six years in prison for the latest convictions. Casper had previously threatened Olson and some of his police officers by email in 2018 after he was arrested for stealing meat and alcohol from a Snowmass Village hotel.
Prosecutor Sarah Nordgaard said Monday that Olson holds no grudge against Casper.
“He wishes him well,” Nordgaard said. “He wishes the defendant would leave him alone.”
Ashley Andrews, Casper’s public defender, blamed alcohol for the more than 30 emails Casper sent to Olson, and said Casper has worked on his anger management while in jail and knows he cannot drink alcohol in the future. She urged Seldin to sentence Casper to the minimum of two years in prison.
“I don’t believe Mr. Casper is a threat,” she said. “I think he’s all bark and no bite.”
Casper told Seldin about completing anger management classes and therapy sessions while he’s been incarcerated, and also asked for a two-year sentence.
“I assure the court that if I’m granted that lesser sentence, there will be no harassing emails from me,” Casper said.
Seldin, however, highlighted that statement, saying the “quid pro quo” offer was part of Casper’s problems. Over the years, Casper has never taken any blame for the actions that landed him in trouble, preferring instead to point the finger at police or his attorney. Seldin called that “criminal thinking” and said he fears that way of processing information will continue to be Casper’s downfall.
“I never heard you say, ‘I was really out of line,’” the judge said. “You never admitted to behaving disruptively.”
Despite Casper’s repeated allegation of being treated unfairly by police, Seldin credited Aspen police officers and Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies for their restraint during Casper’s latest arrest in April 2020.
“You were the only one doing the escalating,” Seldin said. “(The officers’ behavior) was a credit to those agencies.”
A Pitkin County jury convicted Casper of felony burglary and theft for stealing the meat and alcohol from the Westin Hotel, and he was sentenced in April 2019 to 30 months behind bars. However, after less than a year, the Department of Corrections released him because of the pandemic.
It was not clear Monday exactly how much time in prison Casper must serve as the result of his December 2018 conviction for burglary and theft before the new four-year sentence begins. Nordgaard said that amount of time will be up to the state probation and parole department.
Casper also was convicted of felony drunken driving in Eagle County in 2018 and was arrested for harassing an Aspen airport security guard, stealing a defibrillator from Base Village in Snowmass and for harassing a prosecutor while intoxicated.
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