Plea deal reached in Rockne case
BRECKENRIDGE – Defense attorneys for Breckenridge local Erik Rockne agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors on Monday morning that would reduce the charges against their client to one misdemeanor and one deferred judgment felony for a fight last November that hospitalized his then-girlfriend.The agreement was announced in county court after Rockne waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled to take place on Monday morning. In the agreement, Rockne, 39, would plead no contest to criminal mischief and third-degree assault and would undergo domestic violence classes and drug and alcohol treatment. The numerous other charges against him, including attempted manslaughter, intimidating a witness and first-degree assault, would be dropped. A sexual assault charge against Rockne would also be dropped because there was no factual basis that an assault occurred. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said after the hearing the he believes the accuser, a 40-year-old Breckenridge woman who’d been dating Rockne for four years, was beaten by Rockne, “but as you go along, sometimes cases get easier to prove and sometimes cases get harder to prove and this case got harder to prove.”The main reason for the increased difficulty revolved around the alleged victim’s credibility, which the prosecution’s case was riding on and which was put in question by a felony case brought against her in April.She is charged with felony arson, felony criminal mischief and domestic violence stemming from an incident in which she allegedly attempted to burn down the home of a former boyfriend with whom she was staying at the time.In another case on May 24, she accused two men of luring her into their car at a Silverthorne parking lot, then driving her to a nearby apartment, where she told police one of them sexually assaulted her.Hurlbert said there were allegations of fabrications in that case that also could’ve threatened her credibility.Two men were arrested in connection with that incident, one for kidnapping and a second for kidnapping and sexual assault, but Hurlbert said he will not file charges against the men because he doesn’t feel he can prove a sexual assault occurred.Rockne’s lead defense attorney Larry Pozner said the accuser’s story wasn’t holding up as time went on.”The deeper we went, the more the truth really came out. That’s where you saw charges getting lowered and dropped,” Pozner said.Pozner said during court on Monday that he was reluctant to accept any plea deal that included a felony for his client and that a felony charge was harsher than he would like, but that there were factual problems with the case.He said that an affidavit in a case doesn’t always turn out to be factual, referring to the warrant for Rockne’s arrest that detailed a physical beating so severe on a night in late November that the alleged victim’s bladder burst. The affidavit also recounted verbal abuse from Rockne, including death threats if the alleged victim went to police, and two instances of sexual assault on the night in question.Rockne was arrested in early January and since then several hearings in his case have been postponed. On May 25, Hurlbert reduced the most serious charge he was facing from attempted murder to attempted manslaughter and dropped a bond violation case against Rockne.County Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez on Monday moved Rockne’s case on to district court, where he is expected to enter his pleas at a July 23 hearing. The felony criminal mischief charge is a four-year deferred judgment, which means Rockne won’t face a sentence unless he violates the terms of his probation during that time. The penalty for the assault charge would be capped at 60 days in jail, per the plea agreement. Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at email@example.com.
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