Worker pleads guilty to assault after knife fight |

Worker pleads guilty to assault after knife fight

Aspen Times Staff Report

One of the two seasonal construction workers involved in a dinnertime knife fight at the base of Aspen Highlands on June 23 pleaded guilty yesterday to felony “second-degree assault – in the heat of passion.”

Michael Lane Ball, 34, had been charged with first-degree assault, a class-three felony, in connection with the fight that landed Adrian Cooley, 33, in Aspen Valley Hospital for a week with multiple stab wounds to his torso. Though in the plea agreement struck Monday in Pitkin County’s 9th Judicial District Court, the count of assault was knocked down to second-degree, and “heat of passion” was added to further mitigate the severity of Ball’s crime to a class-six felony.

Ball and Cooley had been camping near one another at the base of Highlands and apparently got into a verbal dispute the night of June 23 that quickly escalated into a physical fight involving two knives.

“They got into an argument over who was going to cook and who was going to do dishes,” Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills said in court yesterday.

Ball will face sentencing the afternoon of Sept. 20.

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