Trial begins in Aspen school gun case |

Trial begins in Aspen school gun case

ASPEN – Opening arguments began Tuesday in the trial of a former Aspen school bus driver accused of having a gun on campus.

Stephane M. Peltier, 59, was arrested May 21 for allegedly carrying a weapon on the Aspen School District campus, one day after he brought a rifle on school property and displayed it to another individual.

Now it’s up to a 12-member jury to decide whether Peltier is guilty of the class-six felony charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon on school grounds. The trial is scheduled for three days.

Most of Tuesday was spent selecting a jury, and prospective jurors were quizzed on a variety of issues, ranging from what they listen to on the radio to feelings about gun control.

In his opening remarks, Peltier’s attorney, public defender Stephen McCrohan, said he merely had the gun for “protection of himself, protection of his property, and his place in which he lived.”

Peltier, McCrohan said, had lived in his Volkswagen Sirocco at the time of the incident, and had been traveling back and forth between Florida and Colorado. The gun, McCrohan argued, was simply for protection, and it was Peltier’s constitutional right to have one.

Lead prosecutor Richard Nedlin countered that it’s clear that Peltier violated state law by having a gun on the school grounds.

According to an arrest affidavit from Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Gibson, the gun was not loaded when police confiscated it from the hatchback of Peltier’s car, which was parked near the transportation department on school grounds.

Gibson’s affidavit says that Peltier told a man that he “would be able to take care of problems the [man] was experiencing with [his] ex-wife.”

Should Peltier be convicted, he faces up to 18 months in prison, based on sentencing guidelines. He is free on $2,500 bond.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User