Man back in jail after assault
EAGLE – Chase Speegle is back in jail after pleading guilty twice, but to slightly different crimes.
Last year, Speegle admitted he stabbed a man in the back during a party last winter, and that he owned a backpack full of drugs that police later found.
He was sentenced at that time to two-years probation, and ordered to stay out of trouble for those two years.
He couldn’t do it.
Speegle was back in the Eagle County jail late Sunday, and back in District Court Monday morning. An assault charge in Douglas County, Washington, nullified the two-year deferred sentence he received when he pleaded guilty to charges of assault and possession with intent to distribute. In a deferred sentence, criminals are given the opportunity to avoid prison if the can stay out of trouble – in Speegle’s case for two years.
He returned to Eagle County on Sunday, following a three-week trip through the American West in the van that picked him up in Washington.
Standing again before District Court Judge Russell Granger during a Monday morning hearing, he admitted his guilt again. He faces up to six years in state prison and fines up to $500,000.
Speegle appeared Monday without an attorney. Judge Granger warned Speegle that without an attorney, he might make a mistake from which he cannot walk back. Speegle, though, pressed ahead and admitted what he had done.
“You were pretty fair to me before, and I appreciate that honesty. I don’t want to waste the court’s time,” Speegle said. “Would it help me?”
“I think everyone in this court should have an attorney, frankly,” Granger replied, and left the door open for Speegle to contact the public defenders office if he chose to.
How it all started
Speegle, 21, and his teenaged girlfriend at the time had just arrived in the valley from their home in East Wenatchee, Washington, and went to a party in The Tarnes, Beaver Creek’s employee housing apartments. Trouble started almost immediately when they opened their tan backpack to display the narcotics they had inside, witnesses told Eagle County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
The apartment’s occupants said they didn’t want any trouble and asked Speegle and the woman to leave. The two left, but returned a short time later and started a fight. That’s when Speegle stabbed the victim in the back with a 7-inch knife. The 24-year old victim was rushed by Eagle County paramedics to the Vail Valley Medical Center where he was stitched up and released.
After the stabbing, some of the other party-goers “subdued” Speegle until police could arrive. When the fight started, Speegle’s girlfriend disappeared with the backpack and drugs — several vials of LSD and at least two ounces of methamphetamine. When police arrived, some of the party goers led the Sheriff’s deputies to the apartment where Speegle and the woman were staying. That’s where deputies found the backpack full of narcotics. Deputies also quickly found the young woman and arrested her as well. When Speegle first arrived in Eagle County, he was already in trouble following his guilty plea guilty to a Douglas County, Washington assault in August 2013.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.