Woman to stand trial in Aspen stalking case | AspenTimes.com

Woman to stand trial in Aspen stalking case

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – With her competence to stand trial restored through treatment by the state Department of Human Services, Jan Hamilton was back in Pitkin County District Court on Thursday afternoon.

The 70-year-old, wearing a county-jail-issued orange jumpsuit, sat quietly in a wheelchair during a two-hour preliminary hearing to determine if she should stand trial on a felony stalking charge. The often outspoken Hamilton let her public defender, Laura Koenig, do the talking.

In the end, Judge James Boyd decided that the case would be bound over for trial, but he set no date.

Hamilton has filed numerous lawsuits over the past few years against her perceived adversaries, claiming everything from sexual discrimination to retaliation and defamation to attempted second-degree murder. The root of her arguments goes back to 2005, when she was banned by First Baptist Church, now Crossroads Church. Hamilton, a lesbian, said she was kicked out because of her sexual orientation.

Hamilton says she is afflicted with cancer because of the stress that residents, landlords, churchgoers and others have inflicted upon her. Others have suggested, in court and otherwise, that Hamilton has extreme mental-health issues.

A woman with whom Hamilton was romantically involved for a few years prior to 2004 testified Thursday before Boyd that after she broke off the relationship, Hamilton became relentless in her quest to re-enter the woman’s life.

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Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin’s line of questioning to the alleged victim revolved around an alleged pattern of harassment between 2004 and 2010 through emails, cards and other forms of communication initiated by Hamilton.

The woman said that she didn’t completely ignore Hamilton – she read the emails and other types of correspondence out of fear.

“I was afraid not to – not to know what was going on in her mind,” the woman said. “I felt that something was going to happen.”

She added that despite a restraining order she filed in 2008, Hamilton would often show up at her home uninvited, or send emails and other bits of correspondence, until some point in 2010.

Hamilton’s activities affected her well-being to the point where eating and sleeping were difficult, the woman testified.

“It’s very upsetting,” the woman said. “I have come to understand that Ms. Hamilton is relentless in the pursuit of her agenda and will stop at almost nothing.”

The restraining order, and promises from Hamilton that she would leave her alone, made no difference at all, the woman said.

“I live constantly knowing something’s going to happen, but I don’t know how or where or when,” she said.

After one incident in 2007, in which Hamilton assured the alleged victim that she would stop trying to contact her as long as they went on one last hike together, Hamilton reneged on the promise, the woman said.

“She said, ‘I can’t stop seeing you. I lied,'” the woman said.

The activity runs in clusters, the woman said.

“It seems to go in clusters,” she said. “You get a quite a bit, and then there’s a lull. She’s an intense, demanding woman.”

Koenig attempted to bring up the woman’s history prior to 2004 when she was still involved with Hamilton, off and on. The two met in 2001 while participating in a Bible-study class at First Baptist Church, where they were both members.

Mordkin objected repeatedly to Koenig’s questions to the woman that centered around the positive aspects of their relationship between 2001 and 2003. In some cases, Boyd sustained the objections, while in others he overruled them.

Koenig said she was trying to point out that the dynamics of Hamilton’s relationship were different from those of a friendship, or acquaintanceship. Mordkin said the communications between the two women prior to 2004 were irrelevant in a preliminary hearing in which the prosecution simply had to prove probable cause.

However, Koenig was able to enter photographs and correspondence into the court record that depicted relations between the two women during apparent happier times.

The alleged victim testified as to Hamilton’s inability to reason.

Hamilton, she said, told her that she participated in the Race for the Cure in honor of her deceased mother.

“She insists my mother died of breast cancer,” the woman said. “My mother didn’t die of breast cancer.”

The court has scheduled two more preliminary hearings starting at 9 p.m. today focusing on Hamilton’s other alleged activities. They relate to extortion and stalking charges involving multiple victims, Mordkin said.

asalvail@aspentimes.com to re-enter the woman’s life.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin’s line of questioning of the alleged victim revolved around an alleged pattern of harassment between 2004 and 2010 through emails, cards and other forms of communication initiated by Hamilton.

The woman said that she didn’t ignore Hamilton completely – she read the emails and other correspondence out of fear.

“I was afraid not to – not to know what was going on in her mind,” the woman said. “I felt that something was going to happen.”

She added that despite a restraining order she filed in 2008, Hamilton often would show up at her home uninvited or send emails and other bits of correspondence, until some point in 2010.

Hamilton’s activities affected the woman’s well-being to the point where eating and sleeping were difficult, the woman testified.

“It’s very upsetting,” the woman said. “I have come to understand that Ms. Hamilton is relentless in the pursuit of her agenda and will stop at almost nothing.”

The restraining order, and promises from Hamilton that she would leave her alone, made no difference at all, the woman said.

“I live constantly knowing something’s going to happen, but I don’t know how or where or when,” she said.

After one incident in 2007, in which Hamilton assured the alleged victim that she would stop trying to contact her as long as they went on one last hike together, Hamilton reneged on the promise, the woman said.

“She said, ‘I can’t stop seeing you. I lied,'” the woman said.

“It seems to go in clusters,” she said. “You get a quite a bit, and then there’s a lull. She’s an intense, demanding woman.”

Koenig attempted to bring up the woman’s history prior to 2004 when she was still involved with Hamilton, off and on. The two met in 2001 while participating in a Bible-study class at First Baptist Church, where both were members.

Mordkin objected repeatedly to Koenig’s questions to the woman that centered around the positive aspects of their relationship between 2001 and 2003. In some cases, Boyd sustained the objections, while in others he overruled them.

Koenig said she was trying to point out that the dynamics of Hamilton’s relationship were different from those of a friendship or acquaintanceship. Mordkin said the communications between the two women before 2004 were irrelevant in a preliminary hearing in which the prosecution simply had to prove probable cause.

However, Koenig was able to enter photographs and correspondence into the court record that depicted relations between the two women during apparent happier times.

The alleged victim testified as to Hamilton’s inability to reason.

Hamilton, she said, told her that she participated in the Race for the Cure in honor of her deceased mother.

“She insists my mother died of breast cancer,” the woman said. “My mother didn’t die of breast cancer.”

The court has scheduled two more preliminary hearings starting at 9 a.m. today focusing on Hamilton’s other alleged activities. They relate to extortion and stalking charges involving multiple victims, Mordkin said.

asalvail@aspentimes.com