An Aspen man who was once charged with attempted murder for stabbing his girlfriend was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation after he pleaded guilty last month to felony menacing and misdemeanor assault.
Marc Altman, 49, was also sentenced to 60 days in jail, but he was given credit for 170 days of time served and was expected to be released later Tuesday.
Altman was arrested in August after police say he stabbed his longtime girlfriend in the back. The victim, Terry Decker, 62, is accused of felony assault for allegedly hitting Altman in the head with a hammer in April.
She told Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court at a December hearing that Altman was not the culprit in the stabbing.
“As God as my witness, Marc didn’t cut me,” Decker said at the time, blaming another woman. “In 17 years, he never hurt me.”
At Tuesday’s sentencing, Aspen prosecutor Andrea Bryan told Nichols that the facts in the case are “convoluted, to say the least.” She asked that the judge accept the plea agreement reached by her predecessor, Arnold Mordkin, and Altman’s attorney, Peter Rachesky.
Nichols did so and imposed a mandatory protection order preventing him from having contact with either Decker or the other woman Decker claimed did the stabbing.
Bryan said Altman has a history of violations related to protection orders and domestic violence, and “serious alcohol issues that need to be addressed.”
Decker’s declarations notwithstanding, Rachesky said his client admitted culpability to the charges to which he pleaded guilty and has been cooperative.
Altman declined to speak before sentencing, though he answered a few of Nichols’ questions. The judge noted that from 2003 to 2009, Altman stayed out of trouble but that then “things went rapidly downhill. Why?”
“Why?” Altman said, laughing.
He said he would tell Nichols in private, not in the courtroom.
“Is there anything that will assist you in not drinking?” the judge asked.
“I was working” during his trouble-free period, he said.
Nichols ordered him to stay away from alcohol and marijuana during his probation, and said avoiding alcohol, Decker and the other woman will be his biggest challenge.
Nichols advised Altman to call the police if either woman tries to contact him.