Batter up
Pasta Jay's owner arrested
Friend of Ramsey charged in threats with bat, handgun
Camera Staff Writer
February 11, 1997
Jay Elowsky, owner of Pasta Jay's restaurant and friend of John Ramsey, was arrested Monday on charges he threatened three men with a baseball bat and pulled a gun on one of them, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Department.
Elowsky presumably thought the men were journalists, according to a city press release. The incident took place near an area that some media were staking out based on rumors that John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of slain 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, were staying with a friend nearby.
JonBenet was found strangled in the basement of her home Dec. 26, eight hours after being reported kidnapped. Police have made no arrests in connection with her death.
Elowsky was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing with a deadly weapon and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. He was released on his own recognizance after posting a $2,500 bond.
About 10 a.m., Warren Schmelzer and Ira Haimann, who work at Specialized Engineering at 4939 Broadway in North Boulder, were in Schmelzer's car in a parking lot beside the building when they saw a man walking up to them with a baseball bat.
Schmelzer and Haimann told police that the man walked up to the passenger window and raised the bat as if he were going to hit the car, yelling, "Get the ---- out of here," according to the arrest report.
Schmelzer and Haimann told police the man, later identified as Elowsky, circled their car before returning to his light tan BMW. Schmelzer told police he then ran inside to call 911, while Haimann waited in the car.
A city press release said Elowsky appeared to have "accosted members of the media that were waiting in the area where members of the Ramsey family may have been residing."
Schmelzer and Haimann work at an engineering company at the building. Schmelzer declined to comment on the incident or whether he was working for the media.
Others members of the media covering the murder of JonBenet Ramsey were nearby. A broadcast report said the people Elowsky threatened were an NBC camera crew.
Elowsky, who lives on nearby Dakota Boulevard, is a friend of John Ramsey, and also is a part owner of Pasta Jay's. Ramsey and Elowsky formed a corporation together, now called P.J.'s Property Group LLC and formerly called the
Coates House LLC, as part of a property deal that never came to fruition.
Attempts to reach Elowsky for comment were unsuccessful.
Some media have spent much of the past seven weeks trying to locate the Ramseys, who are no longer living at their house on 15th Street. When John Ramsey was rumored to be returning to his job as president of Access Graphics, several camera crews waited for him, some hiding behind a dumpster in an alley behind the Pearl Street office building, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the slain beauty queen's father.
Other camera crews have spent Sunday mornings outside St. John's Episcopal Church, which the Ramseys used to attend. Members of the congregation have complained about feeling on edge in a place that used to be a sanctuary for them.
Monday's incident is considered by many people a reaction to that on-edge feeling.
Lee Frank, a Denver journalist who does free-lance work for national media outlets, told police he saw the BMW pull into the parking lot and saw a man with a bat get out of the car. Frank reported that the man began to walk toward him, carrying the bat in a threatening manner, so he ran into the building to call the police.
Elowsky told police he saw people walking around behind his house and was only trying to chase them away. Elowsky said he drew his handgun when he saw someone pick up a pipe as he got back into his car, according to the arrest report.
Police found a gun in a brown paper bag on the floor of Elowsky's car next to an aluminum baseball bat, and a magazine full of 9mm bullets was in his fanny pack, according to the report.
Sheriff's Lt. Steve Prentup said Elowsky has not been issued a concealed handgun permit by the sheriff's department.
Day in court

Saturday, February 15, 1997

"Pasta" Jay Elowsky, scheduled for an arraignment on charges of felony menacing and unlawful possession of a concealed handgun, had his day in court delayed until later this month. Elowsky, owner of Pasta Jay's restaurant, was arrested Monday after three men said he threatened them with an aluminum baseball bat and drew a 9mm handgun. He told police he believed the men were members of the media staking out his house in hopes of seeing members of the Ramsey family.
Hearing delayed for "Pasta Jay" in menacing case

Wednesday, February 26, 1997

Boulder County Judge Thomas Reed delayed "Pasta" Jay Elowsky's arraignment a second time Tuesday - this time for another two weeks. Elowsky was charged with felony menacing and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon on Feb. 10 when three men said he threatened them with an aluminum baseball bat.

According to a Boulder police report, Elowsky presumably thought the men were reporters staking out his house in North Boulder in hopes of seeing John and Patsy Ramsey, who were staying with him at the time. The Ramseys are the parents of slain 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. One of the men worked for NBC; the other two were not affiliated with the media.

The arraignment, which had already been continued from Feb. 14 until Tuesday, has been postponed until March 12 at 9 a.m.
Elowsky guilty of menacing
By JEFF MAYO Camera Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 2, 1997

Jay Elowsky, part owner of Pasta Jay's restaurant and a friend of John Ramsey, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor menacing Tuesday afternoon in Boulder County Court.

Judge Thomas Reed sentenced Elowsky to two consecutive weekends in the custody of the Boulder County Sheriff's Department on work detail beginning 7:30 a.m. July 19. The weekend program requires offenders to remain in the custody of the sheriff overnight.

Elowsky was arrested Feb. 10 after threatening two men with a baseball bat. He believed the men - employees of a nearby store - were journalists. The incident occurred across the street from Elowsky's house in an area reporters had used to stake out Elowsky's home following rumors that John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of slain 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, were staying with him.

JonBenet was found strangled in the basement of the family's Boulder home Dec. 26. No arrests have been made in the case.

In sentencing Elowsky, the judge read letters thanking Elowsky for his service to different civic organizations, but he said community service wasn't punitive enough, given that Elowsky already donated his time to community groups.

Elowsky was ordered by Reed to continue anger counseling, which he began two weeks after the incident. In addition, he must complete one year of unsupervised probation, write an apology to the victims, pay $138 to victims' funds and court costs, and forfeit the pistol found in his car at the time of the arrest.

Misdemeanor menacing carries a maximum of six months in jail and a $750 fine. Reed said he lightened the sentence because of Elowsky's volunteerism.

Elowsky, 37, apologized, saying: "I have disgraced the Ramsey family, my family and the Boulder community."

Prosecutor Collette Cribari said the two victims did not wish for Elowsky to receive jail time. While there was no property damage or injuries, Cribari said the conviction would note Elowsky's possession of a loaded firearm during the incident. The firearm was never taken out of the car during the incident, she said.

The incident occurred in the weeks following JonBenet's death. Elowsky's neighbors said the news media were on his front lawn, peering into his windows, in his back yard and ringing the doorbell, Cribari said.

Elowsky was originally arrested on suspicion of felony menacing with a deadly weapon, but that was reduced to misdemeanor menacing under an agreement between the district attorney's of fice and Elowsky's lawyer.

In other developments Tuesday, the Boulder Police Department has shared the results of a Colorado Bureau of Investigation analysis regarding Patsy Ramsey's fifth handwriting sample with the district attorney's office, said Suzanne Laurion, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.

"There have been some oral reports given to detectives, but it (chemical testing of palm and fingerprints on the note) isn't completed yet," Laurion said.
'Pasta Jay' won't face charges
By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer

When a local restaurateur facing felony menacing charges was offered a plea bargain last year by the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, some people cried foul over what they perceived as the preferential treatment of a friend of John Ramsey's.
A year later, another run-in with the law has ended in what appears to be another break for Jay Elowsky, owner of Boulder's Pasta Jay's restaurant, who was arrested in May on suspicion of driving under the influence while still on probation for the 1997 incident.
But Elowsky has not been — and will not be — charged with violating his probation.
Prosecutors contend Elowsky simply slipped through Boulder County's justice system, although his attorney believes police knew Elowsky was on probation at the time of his DUI arrest.
"The sheriff's officer was bragging that he bagged Jay Elowsky," John Stavely said. "So I'm sure the system was aware that he was in there."
Accusations that Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter and his staff are in cahoots with the high-powered attorneys representing John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of slain 6-year-old JonBenét, and aiding friends, such as Elowsky, have been made repeatedly since the Dec. 26, 1996 murder.
Those allegations resurfaced late last week when one of the Boulder police detectives investigating the homicide quit the force, lashing out at Hunter in a biting letter accusing the DA's office of "facilitating the escape of justice."
Elowsky, a friend and one-time business partner of John Ramsey, was first arrested Feb. 10, 1997, on charges he threatened three men with a baseball bat — men he believed were reporters looking for the Ramsey family, who had been in hiding since JonBenét's murder.
The restaurant owner had a loaded gun in his vehicle, although he never displayed it.
Originally booked on suspicion of felony menacing and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, Elowsky was allowed to plead guilty in July 1997 to a single charge of misdemeanor menacing in a plea agreement with the district attorney`s office.
That deal drew criticism of the DA`s office, although prosecutors argued Elowsky was treated as any other first-time offender would have been in the same situation.
Elowsky was sentenced to two weekends in the custody of the Boulder County Sheriff`s Department on work detail. He also was placed on one year`s unsupervised probation, beginning July 1, 1997.
Bill Wise, Boulder County`s first assistant district attorney, said unsupervised probation is offered very rarely and "is a misnomer because the probation department never even sees it."
When Elowsky was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving May 16, the Boulder County sheriff`s deputy who made the stop ran a routine check on Elowsky.
That kind of check doesn`t reveal probationary status, Wise said.
And because Elowsky was booked and released from the Boulder County Jail, a bond evaluation that would have caught the probation was not performed.
Prosecutors did catch the initial slip and had planned on charging Elowsky with violating his probation, Wise said.
When Elowsky was cited for the DUI, a standard pre-trial conference with prosecutors was set for July 27. Wise said the paperwork on Elowsky`s case reached the DA`s office June 24, but the case wasn`t reviewed immediately.
The prosecutor assigned to the case, Wise said, "notified (Elowsky`s) attorney that he was going to violate him on the probation, and the attorney said, 'Better check that out because I think it`s expired.` And, in fact, it had."
Elowsky`s probation was closed out July 1 and, Wise said, prosecutors only have a five-day grace period to go back and charge a defendant for violating probation once it`s over.
At Elowsky`s pre-trial conference two weeks ago, according to court documents, prosecutors offered him the chance to plead guilty to a lesser charge of driving while ability impaired.
A DWAI charge reflects a blood-alcohol level between .05 and 0.1. In Colorado, anything above 0.1 is considered DUI.
Wise said such an offer is common in first-time offenses. Court records show Elowsky has no previous DUIs, although he does have a poor driving record, with seven speeding tickets in a two-year span and a six-month license suspension in 1994.
Elowsky hasn`t accepted the plea bargain and is set to stand trial Sept. 22.
But prosecutors may have a tough time proving Elowsky was DUI, since his blood-alcohol level was only .083, according to results of a blood test.
When contacted, Elowsky deferred comment to his attorney, Stavely.
Stavely is an associate in the law firm of Michael Bynum - a former Boulder County deputy district attorney and friend of John Ramsey`s, who, with a group of investors, last February purchased the Boulder home where JonBenet was killed.

August 11, 1998
The BoulderNews Ramsey Archive

Articles from the Daily Camera

Hunter defends plea proposal
Pasta Jay owner may see charge cut to misdemeanor in gun case
Camera Staff Writer
Friday, April 4, 1997
Although a proposed plea bargain with restaurateur Jay Elowsky reducing a possible felony charge to a misdemeanor is drawing public criticism, such a reduction isn't unusual, prosecutors' records show.
District Attorney Alex Hunter said he'll recommend charging the owner of Boulder's popular Pasta Jay's restaurant with misdemeanor menacing, while dropping a potential misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Hunter said he doesn't believe evidence would support a felony menacing charge, originally recommended when Elowsky was arrested for allegedly threatening three men with a bat. And because Elowsky's gun was in his car when he allegedly withdrew it, the handgun wouldn't be considered a concealed weapon under state law. Elowsky drew the gun after another man allegedly approached him with a pipe.
According to the prosecutor's office, 151 felony menacing cases were handled in 1996. Of those, about 65 had similar circumstances as Elowsky's case - a defendant with no prior criminal record who used a weapon other than a gun or knife. Of those, all 65 resulted in misdemeanor menacing charges.
"Many people charged with felonies resolve them without a felony conviction," said Boulder attorney Peter Schild, who often represents people in criminal cases. "It's not unusual for a first offender to get a chance to show they can behave themselves in the future."
Elowsky's legal drama is just another sideshow in the JonBenet Ramsey homicide investigation.
Six-year-old JonBenet was found strangled in the basement of her family's upscale Boulder home Dec. 26. Since then, her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, and brother Burke have lived with various friends in Boulder, occasionally visiting their former home in Georgia.
In early February, the Ramseys were staying at Elowsky's North Boulder home. Members of the media reportedly staked out the house, hiding behind bushes with cameras and using other tactics in hopes of getting a glimpse or a word with the family.
On Feb. 10, Elowsky reportedly pursued three men he thought were reporters staking out his house. But two of the men, Warren Schmelzer and Ira Haimann, were not reporters. Engineers working in an office near Elowsky's house, the two were getting into Schmelzer's car when Elowsky approached, allegedly holding a bat and screaming obscenities.
When Haimann ran back to the office to call the police, Schmelzer picked up a pipe and followed Elowsky, police reports say. Elowsky told police that when he saw Schmelzer following him to his car, he pulled a loaded pistol out of his fanny pack. He then dropped the gun into a brown paper bag on the floor of his BMW.
Elowsky was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing for brandishing the bat and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon - a misdemeanor. But he has yet to be charged. Multiple scheduled arraignments have been postponed.
Hunter said he reached an agreement with Elowsky's attorney: Elowsky would plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of menacing, give up his handgun and agree to attend anger-control counseling. Elowsky will be formally charged in June and could face up to six months in jail on the misdemeanor charge. Hunter said the agreement allows Elowsky to keep any other guns he owns.
"Mr. Elowsky - who I have never met, never had a conversation with, I think I've been in his restaurant once about three years ago - is being treated the way Joe Schmoe would be treated," Hunter said. "If I had played politics, if I had done what would be easy to do, some people would have cried foul. But they cry foul either way, because this is a sideshow to the big case."
On radio talk shows, some have accused Hunter of letting Elowsky off easy because his liquor license and a pending loan might be endangered if he faces felony charges.
"The fact this man has a restaurant and a liquor license and he has some business thing that involves a loan had nothing to do with the decision to file misdemeanor charges," Hunter said.
Hunter said prosecutors agreed to delay the formal filing of charges until June because Elowsky is in the process of negotiating a business loan - a delay Hunter said is a common procedure. Prosecutors routinely delay formal charging when the defendant has pressing personal concerns such as a family illness, school obligations or even a pre-paid vacation, Hunter said.
The reason the charges were reduced, Hunter said, was because he did not believe he could convince a jury that Elowsky committed felony menacing, which is defined as "placing another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by use of a deadly weapon," according to Colorado criminal code.
"The fact that they were in a closed car and no windows were bashed in, I worry about being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt," Hunter said.
"Don't hear me say that because of these men (other re porters) walking around the yard, he has the right to do what he did," Hunter said. "There is no question that Schmelzer and Haimann are innocent victims. They were minding their own business, and a criminal act was committed against them."
Repeated attempts to contact Schmelzer and Haimann were unsuccessful. The two men are reportedly considering a civil lawsuit against Elowsky.
Hunter said the two men also have the right to testify at the June hearing if they are unhappy with the charges. A judge will then decide on the charge.
"The business of how come the defendant got all the rights and the victim doesn't, well the victims have all the rights in the victim's bill of rights - which I helped work on," said Hunter. "Their rights are being as respected as the defendant's - no less."

Contact the NewsRoom or BoulderNews.
Copyright 1997 The Daily Camera. Any copying, redistribution, or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of The Daily Camera is expressly prohibited.
From John Ramsey's book, The Other Side of Suffering:

One friend we stayed with got so angry and frustrated when a guy posing as a telephone repairman tried to tap his phone that he ran out of the house to run off photographers who had gathered in a nearby lot.  He carried a baseball bat for effect, which, of course, was a bad idea.  A few of the photographers quickly armed themselves with metal  pipes, but before any damage to either side was done, the police showed up. Our poor friend was arrested and hauled off to jail.  Patsy drove to the police station to plead for his release.  In tears, she reminded the police that someone had broken into our house and killed our little girl.  "We're being positively hounded to death by photographers and reporters and TV cameras.  Can't you do something to protect us?"

Our friend received a misdemeanor menace charge and now a good man had a police record.  The killer's poison was spreading to those around us.

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