Councilmember’s boyfriend charged for threatening with a knife

Anita Springsteen had issues with Rocky Mountain Assisted Living for years

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/2/20

A Lakewood City Councilmember’s feud with a Lakewood assisted living facility has led to her boyfriend being hit with multiple charges — including felony menacing. According to affidavits from …

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Councilmember’s boyfriend charged for threatening with a knife

Anita Springsteen had issues with Rocky Mountain Assisted Living for years

Posted

A Lakewood City Councilmember’s feud with a Lakewood assisted living facility has led to her boyfriend being hit with multiple charges — including felony menacing.

According to affidavits from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and interviews with staff at the Rocky Mountain Assisted Living at 1570 S. Newland St., Lakewood City Councilmember Anita Springsteen has had frustrations with the assisted living facility for years.

Those frustrations, pertaining to parking and trash, reached a new level when Springsteen’s boyfriend, Jeremiah Axtell, allegedly charged at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living staff and a hospice chaplain on Jan. 28.

Axtell was charged with felony menacing, disorderly conduct, violation of a protection order and obstructing a peace officer following the Jan. 28 incident. He has a motion hearing scheduled on Sept. 30 in a Jefferson County court.

Springsteen was elected to Lakewood City Council to represent Ward 3 last fall — a centrally located portion of the city that includes Belmar. She declined to comment on this story, saying that she can’t because she is a potential witness in Axtell’s pending criminal case.

The assisted living facility’s issues with Springsteen and Axtell began months before the alleged Jan. 28 incident, according to sources.

According to an affidavit, Lakewood Police were called to Rocky Mountain Assisted Living on Oct. 9, 2019 on reports of Axtell yelling, cussing and physically threatening Meghann Ziegler, the assisted living facility’s executive director.

Ziegler told the Lakewood Sentinel she was getting ready to leave work at the time of the incident when Axtell exited Springsteen’s home near the assisted living facility and started yelling at her and her coworker. He allegedly called the two derogatory names and yelled at them to pick up Rocky Mountain Assisted Living’s trash, according to Ziegler.

“There was no trash anywhere. He would walk down the street, then would come back and flip us off,” said Ziegler, who said that Rocky Mountain Assisted Living had previous issues with its former trash company not picking up trash. “He would say ‘I’ll show you’ and beat his chest like he was physically going to do something.”

The affidavit says Axtell kept repeating “Do you want to go?” during the same incident Ziegler described.

“At that point we called 911. We declined to press charges because we were hoping it was a one-time thing,” said Ziegler.

When police approached Springsteen to ask if she knew anything about the situation, she said she didn’t and added that her and her children are the only members of her household, the affidavit says.

“Agents explained to (Springsteen) that a male had been seen exiting her residence by several witnesses and that he had started a verbal altercation with (Ziegler and the other Rocky Mountain Assisted Living employee). (Springsteen) continued to maintain that she did not know anything about (the situation),” the affidavit reads. “(Springsteen) would not identify (Axtell) and stated that she did not know him.”

Springsteen later admitted to Axtell being her boyfriend in an affidavit from the alleged Jan. 28 incident.

Tensions continue

Police were called to the assisted living facility on Jan. 28 on reports of a man being upset and charging at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living staff, the affidavit from the incident reads.

A hospice chaplain who was at the assisted living facility said in the affidavit that Axtell was yelling about “poop.” Axtell allegedly approached the hospice chaplain and a Rocky Mountain Assisted Living employee saying he had a knife in his pocket.

The hospice chaplain and the employee then retreated into Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, and staff members locked the assisted living facility’s doors, the affidavit says.

Axtell told an officer there were diapers in the street from the assisted living facility and said Springsteen didn’t like it, according to the affidavit. He allegedly repeatedly called the officer an “asshole,” wouldn’t answer officer questions and refused to sit down after being asked to do so.

“(Axtell) began advancing towards me with his hands up above his head. Due to the proximity and safety issued I put my right hand, open handed, on his chest and pushed him backwards causing him to step back a few times,” the officer’s affidavit says. “At the same time, I told him to step back.”

At some point during the Jan. 28 incident, officers say Springsteen began to record Axtell’s interactions with them on her cellphone and later declined to give Lakewood Police the footage.

Axtell was detained because of his “erratic behavior,” the affidavit says, and he admitted to police that he had consumed alcohol. Lakewood Police say that at that time, Axtell had a protection order in Adams County that prohibited him from possessing or consuming alcohol, and because of that, police had probable cause to arrest him.

In 2017, Axtell pleaded guilty to felony criminal trespassing in connection to a 2016 burglary and trespassing case. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and his protection order stems from that case.

A neighborhood feud

Jessica Harmon was the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Assisted Living location next to Springsteen’s home for nearly four years. She said the assisted living facility had issues with Springsteen since it was constructed, more than six years ago.

“She would make snide comments to the builders, and as soon as we built the home, she started to become upset anytime a staff member or visitor would park in front of her house,” said Harmon.

According to Harmon, Springsteen toured the assisted living facility and met its residents. Harmon said she had thought the two sides were okay, but said Springsteen continued to become upset anytime someone parked in front of her home.

“We’re talking several feet away from her driveway,” said Harmon. She added that Springsteen would regularly yell at residents when they parked their cars next to her home.

“She would call me on my days off, text me and email me. It made my job challenging,” she added. “I offered mediation — but she refused.”

Ziegler said when Rocky Mountain Assisted Living has a lot of visitors, it occurs during significant events like a holiday, celebration or someone passing.

“It’s not often we don’t have a lot of parking. We only have 12 residents here,” said Ziegler. “It’s small. We have tops, three staff members a day.”

Ziegler said she is preparing to file a restraining order against Springsteen and Axtell.

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