Defendant in Basalt assault case is military veteran suffering from PTSD, motion says

Wettstein getting addiction treatment in program for vets

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

A suspect in an alleged brutal assault in Basalt received permission from a judge earlier this month to travel out of state for treatment in an addiction program for U.S. military veterans.

Daniel Wettstein was accepted to the Desert Hope Addiction Treatment Center in Nevada for a 90-day inpatient program, according to a motion filed by his attorney, Michael Fox.

“Desert Hope Addiction Treatment Center has a Salute to Recovery specialized program where they offer co-occurring disorder treatment to military veterans whose lives changed to become unmanageable due to substance use and mental health challenges, such as PTSD,” the motion said.

Wettstein was arrested Aug. 28 after multiple police agencies surrounded his residence in the Willits Townhomes in Basalt. Police were called to the scene after a bloodied and allegedly beaten man jumped out of a window in the residence and called for help. He told responders there were weapons in the residence, so they responded with caution.

Wettstein surrendered without issue. His roommate, Mufasta Muhammad, didn’t come out of the townhome until after a SWAT team was on the doorstep.

Wettstein is charged with three counts of assault in the first degree, one count of second degree kidnapping, two counts of assault in the second degree, three counts of menacing and one count of false imprisonment.

He bonded out of Eagle County Jail shortly after the incident. A condition of his bond was he cannot leave the area without permission. The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office didn’t oppose his motion to travel to the treatment center. A judge approved the request Dec. 10. Wettstein departed to Las Vegas to attend the treatment program Dec. 11. He pledged to submit a waiver of extradition to ensure he will return to Colorado for resolution of his court case.

The motion said he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving multiple tours abroad over four years.

“Over the course of his military career, he received medals and accolades, namely the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, and the Army Service Ribbon,” the motion states.

After leaving the service and “returning home” in 2011, Wettstein was diagnosed with and treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the motion said. After this arrest this year, he restarted drug and mental health treatment at the Grand Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center and tried to get into an inpatient treatment program.

“The efforts to get into a Veteran-sponsored inpatient program were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and for Mr. Wettstein’s unrelated health issues,” the motion said.

Wettstein was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a preliminary hearing. Fox entered a waiver of the hearing on Friday. That waiver is an admission by Wettstein that sufficient evidence exists to establish probable cause that he committed the crimes charged, the waiver said.

In another development in the case, a judge signed an order requiring the District Attorney to preserve all physical evidence collected from the alleged victim in the case. The evidence includes blood samples taken from the scene and metabolic panel testing at Valley View Hospital.

The blood samples “are critical to Mr. Wettstein and his defense,” said a motion by Fox.

Fox contended that laboratory results showed that the victim had alcohol and cocaine in his system. It also indicated he had allegedly used methamphetamine, which he denied when interviewed by a prosecutor in the Wettstein case. Wettstein’s attorney wants the alleged victim’s blood preserved to determine how much meth was alleged in the victim’s system.

“(The victim’s) consumption of methamphetamine and the extent of his consumption weigh heavily upon the reliability of his account of the events which took place on Aug. 27, and upon his overall credibility,” the motion said.

It continued that they plan to have an independent evaluation and testing performed on the blood samples. A judge signed the order in October.


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