Shortest jury deliberation nets longest possible sentence in stalking, assault case
March 28, 2018
EAGLE — After an Eagle County jury took the shortest time on record to convict a man of assaulting, stalking and harassing a woman, a judge gave him the longest possible prison term.
Last month, a jury convicted Martin Arroyo in nine minutes. Judge Ken Plotz sentenced Arroyo to four years in prison on Wednesday, March 28.
'A threat to society'
Arroyo's criminal record stretches back to 2001, said Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Noone, who prosecuted the case. Deferred sentences were revoked, community corrections sentences were revoked, and he landed in state prison.
Noone called him "a threat to society."
"The victim said the only time she feels safe is when he is behind bars," Noone said.
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Plotz said the evidence indicated that Arroyo was violent and that the violence continued over many, many months.
"There was no misunderstanding here, no mistake. This was an attempt to control someone through violent means," Plotz said.
Plotz said there were no mitigating circumstances and that Arroyo's behavior poses a threat to the community.
Arroyo insisted loudly and repeatedly that he would appeal his conviction to federal court.
"I didn't violate any crime," Arroyo said. "… I did not break any laws in Colorado. … I'll prove it in federal court."
"You can send me to prison, but I guarantee I'm going to beat this on appeal," Arroyo said. "… I s— you not."
"I did a lot more time than murderers. … It just amazes me, the corruption here," Arroyo shouted.
According to police reports, Arroyo lived in a Basalt storage unit when he left hundreds of profane and threatening voicemails and texts on a Roaring Fork Valley woman's phone.
During the two-day trial last month, Arroyo averaged five F-bombs and at least two instances of "you whore" in each message played in the courtroom. Phrases such as:
"I'm going to f— you over, you piece of s— whore. You got that? … I want you to suffer like I have …
"P.S. I love you."
Arroyo made many of those calls from the Basalt storage unit where he was living, police said. In the recordings, his voice became garbled after the metal overhead door was lowered.
Arroyo and the victim had dated for about six months when he became abusive and she broke it off, the victim said.
The abuse became physical for the final time on Jan. 6, 2017. She arrived at the Basalt gym for her normal workout, starting on an elliptical machine. Arroyo stalked up to her angrily as she was working out and watching a television show.
He yanked off her headphones and shouted at her, calling her a "f—ing whore" and a "f—ing bitch."
Officer on the phone
A few weeks later, when she was at work helping people suffering from terminal diseases, he called her 62 times between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. She had finally had enough and went to the Basalt police, saying she feared for her safety.
While she was in the police station, Arroyo called. She put the call on speaker phone, at Officer Ernie Mack's request, so Mack could hear Arroyo's threats. As Mack listened to the call, Arroyo called the victim a "b-tch" and a "whore" and said he was going to hit her so hard that her dog would feel it, Mack testified.
"Martin, this is Officer Ernie Mack, with the Basalt police. I need you to come talk to us. … How soon can I expect you?" Mack testified.
"Soon," Arroyo told Mack.
Arroyo did not go to the police department. He went to a bar instead.
Mack spotted Arroyo walking out the front door of the bar, toward the police officers waiting a few feet away.
"You got me," Arroyo told the officers. "Just put the f—ing cuffs on me."
So they did.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.