Justin Erwin accepts plea agreement in 2016 Silverthorne sexual assault case
Justin Cayce Erwin, one of four men accused of sexually assaulting a woman on St. Patrick’s Day in 2016, accepted a plea agreement at the Summit County Justice Center on Monday afternoon, admitting guilt in his role in the incident.
Erwin, 42, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault, a class-five felony, along with two misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and criminal invasion of privacy. The agreement represents another step forward in the case, as the legal fallout from the assault reaches toward its third year in the criminal justice system.
In the early morning of March 17, 2016, Erwin — along with Ramon Villa, Michael Gelber and Paul Garvin — engaged in group sex with a woman inside a Silverthorne apartment after a night of drinking and celebrating the holiday. The woman claimed she has only vague memories of the encounter due to her level of inebriation at the time, and said that the sex acts were non-consensual.
In July of 2018, Erwin went to trial in Eagle County where a jury found him not guilty on 11 of the 20 counts brought against him by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and a mistrial was declared on the others after the jury reached a stalemate. Following the mistrial Erwin was left with nine charges, including sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, invasion of privacy for sexual gratification and conspiracy to commit invasion of privacy. As result of the plea agreement, those nine charges have been dropped in lieu of the three new charges.
The attempted sexual assault charge carries a presumptive punishment of one to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, depending on aggravating or mitigating factors, along with between $1,000-100,000 in fines. The two misdemeanors carry potential penalties of six to 24 months in jail and three to 12 months in jail, respectively. According to the plea agreement, if Erwin is sentenced to time in prison, his jail sentences will run concurrently. If he is not sentenced to prison, jail sentences may run consecutively.
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Erwin’s was the final case to be adjudicated from the St. Patrick’s Day assault. Garvin was convicted on a felony sexual assault charge, along with misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual contact and invasion of privacy in November 2017, and subsequently sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison. In June, Gelber pleaded guilty to felony attempted sexual assault as part of a plea agreement, and was sentenced to one year in Summit County Jail. Villa also accepted a plea deal in November, admitting guilt to a felony charge of attempted sexual assault, along with misdemeanor charges of invasion of privacy for sexual gratification and unlawful sexual contact. Villa is scheduled to return to court in Eagle County on Feb. 11 for sentencing.
In addition to the sexual assault case, Erwin also admitted guilt on a number of smaller incidents over the last three years. As part of the agreement, Erwin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violation of bond conditions stemming from an incident this November where he attempted to cheat a urine analysis by using a “Whizzinator,” and subsequently attempted to bribe a public servant to keep it under wraps. Erwin also admitted to violating the terms of his probation on two DUI incidents from 2014 and 2015. Erwin had previously entered guilty pleas on DUI and criminal impersonation cases from 2016.
Erwin is expected to be sentenced in all of his outstanding cases following a pre-sentencing investigation on March 28.
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