Aspen judge: Man’s mental health ‘a success story’ |

Aspen judge: Man’s mental health ‘a success story’

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Jacob Hadar was struggling mightily with mental health issues last summer when he threatened a couple out hiking in the Thompson Creek area and broke a window in another man’s car, his lawyer said.

But on Monday, a Pitkin County District Court judge praised Hadar and his family for using the interim months to muster the resources necessary to harness positive results from the state’s mental health care system.

“This is a success story, and that’s a tribute to Mr. Hadar and his family,” said District Judge Chris Seldin. “The outcome here actually makes the community more safe than if we would have locked up Mr. Hadar.”

Hadar’s lawyer agreed.

“This is a prime example of how when people have the support of family resources, they can make the mental health system work for them,” said Molly Owens, a public defender.

Hadar was wearing only thermal underwear bottoms when he saw the couple walking their dog and said, “Someone’s going to die today, and it’s going to be one of you,” the female hiker told The Aspen Times in early July. The couple decided to leave, but Hadar jumped into the back of their truck as they were backing out and later challenged the male hiker to a fight, the woman said.

A man driving a Jeep later told the couple that a man fitting Hadar’s description used a signpost to break out one of the Jeep’s windows, she said at the time.

On Monday, Hadar apologized to those victims.

“I’m really sorry for the harm I caused the community,” he said. “I feel sorry about the people I threatened. I think about it a lot.”

The victims in the case did not want to see Hadar put in jail or prison and only wanted him to get the treatment he needed, said prosecutor Sarah Oszczakiewicz.

“It’s a credit to the victims to recognize what was going on and not seek incarceration,” she said.

Hadar said his mother took a second mortgage out on her house to fund his treatment, which caused great strain on her. However, the treatment he received in Boulder paid off within two weeks when he began to feel better, Hadar said.

Now, Hadar said he’s feeling good and confident he has a good grasp on his mental health.

“This is the first time I’ve felt good,” he said.

Hadar pleaded guilty to felony menacing and misdemeanor criminal mischief. As part of a plea deal, the felony charge will be wiped from his record provided he stays out of trouble for the next two years while on supervised probation.

“This case demonstrates how the influence of family can make a big difference,” Seldin said.

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