The Colorado Springs man accused of taking hostages near Independence Pass on Wednesday made his first court appearance in Aspen yesterday.
30-year-old Brolin McConnell is facing charges of first-degree kidnapping for holding 3 men at gunpoint on Lincoln Creek Road near the intersection with Highway 82. During his appearance before Aspen District Judge Chris Seldin, McConnell had several unusual moments with both the judge and one of the hostages, 23-year-old Mark Meredith of Aspen. McConnell essentially admitted his part in the episode in a back-and-forth exchange with Meredith, but then told the judge “I didn’t kidnap anybody, I just held them hostage.”
During the incident on Wednesday, two of the three hostages were able to get away while McConnell was distracted. When Pitkin County deputies arrived at the scene, McConnell fired several shots – both towards the deputies and toward the one remaining hostage – and told the officers he wanted $100 million dollars. When the final hostage managed to get away from McConnell, he surrendered to the deputies peacefully. No one was injured in the incident.
Authorities have not yet released any information about a possible motive for McConnell’s actions, but say he was acting erratically and appeared to be on drugs of some nature. There is no indication that he knew any of the three men he held against their will.
In addition to the kidnapping charge, McConnell is also charged with felony menacing, as well as second-degree misdemeanors for false imprisonment and prohibited use of a firearm. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 16 years in prison.