Woody Creek man acquitted on harassment charge
The Aspen Times
ASPEN – A jury acquitted a Woody Creek man Friday of a misdemeanor harassment charge that stemmed from an alleged incident with a neighbor on Christmas Day.
Nathan Shane Aldrich, 48, showed no emotion as the verdict was read Friday afternoon in Pitkin County Court in Aspen. A four-man, two-woman jury took less than one hour to reach their decision.
Public Defender Matt Morris turned to Aldrich after the verdict was read, and extended his congratulations to him.
Morris repeatedly told the jury during the trial that the neighbor, a woman, could not be trusted.
He painted a picture of a woman whose lies included fabrications about her work history in the area.
“We know you … we don’t believe you,” Morris said during the course of the trial that lasted about eight hours.
The woman told the court Aldrich yelled expletive-laced obscenities at her and some friends on Christmas Day, while they were shoveling snow in front of her home in Woody Creek.
She testified that Aldrich yelled at them several times. The comments allegedly included remarks about her race. The woman is of Malaysian and Chinese heritage. She was born in Malaysia.
The woman said that Aldrich was standing near his trailer residence when he made the remarks. She made her comments during questioning from prosecutor Richard Nedlin.
She said the son of one of her friends engaged in a shouting match with Aldrich after he made the remarks. A witness for the prosecution later backed up that claim.
The woman said the remarks from Aldrich made “me scared.”
Aldrich said he never made those comments. He said during testimony the woman and a man were walking by his residence when she yelled something somewhat intelligible to him.
He said the front door was open at the time. Aldrich said that he yelled back at the duo. The statement included an expletive.
Aldrich suggested that he had some history with the woman, who works at an area post office with his girlfriend. He told the court that the woman “was constantly abusing [his girlfriend] at work.”
The girlfriend also told the court the same thing during her testimony.
Jury foreman Mark Whiston said after the trial that the group acquitted Aldrich, largely because they stuck to deliberation guidelines issued to them by Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely.
“We were not able to convict based on the instructions given to us by the judge,” he said.
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