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Domestic case dropped against '127 Hours' figure

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DAN ELLIOTT and P. SOLOMON BANDA | December 9, 2013 05:15 PM EST | AP

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DENVER (AP) — No charges will be filed against Aron Ralston, the Colorado adventurer whose self-amputation ordeal inspired the movie "127 Hours," after he and his girlfriend were arrested in connection with a weekend altercation at her home, prosecutors said Monday.

The girlfriend, Vita Shannon, still faces charges including assault and disturbing the peace. She pleaded not guilty and was awaiting release on $550 bail.

Assistant City Attorney Vince DiCroce said prosecutors reviewed the case and evidence and didn't think they had a reasonable chance of convicting the 38-year-old Ralston. He wouldn't elaborate or say why prosecutors decided to continue the case against Shannon, also 38.

Shannon also faces one count of wrongs to minors, a charge used when children are present during an incident but not necessarily hurt. Police said the couple's 8-week-old daughter was present at the time of the altercation.

There was no indication the child was hurt. Family members said Shannon's mother has been caring for the girl.

Police documents allege Shannon struck Ralston twice in the back of the head with her fists, and that he shoved her as she was leaving her home. The documents said they were arguing over another one of Ralston's children.

Ralston's attorney, Jeff Pagliuca, declined to comment.

Ralston's father, Larry Ralston, told The Associated Press the couple had "a heated argument."

Later, he told reporters, "They're two good parents involved here that care very much for their young daughter."

Each charge against Shannon carries a fine of up to $999 and a sentence of up to a year in jail upon conviction.

Ralston cut off his forearm to free himself from a dislodged boulder in a Utah canyon in 2003.

He was "canyoneering" — making his way down a narrow canyon — at the time. After five days with little food and water, he broke his arm and then amputated it with a knife to escape.

He detailed his struggles in a book, "Between a Rock and Hard Place," which was adapted into the Oscar-nominated "127 Hours."

Ralston became a celebrity, making inspirational speeches and championing environmental causes.

He also continued his adventurous life using prosthetics he helped develop. He completed a nine-year project to scale the highest point in all 50 states and became the first person to solo climb all 59 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in winter.

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Associated Press Writer Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.

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Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP and P. Solomon Banda at http://twitter.com/PSBanda.

Prosecutors on Monday decided against pursuing charges against Aron Ralston, a Colorado adventurer whose self-amputation ordeal inspired the movie "127 Hours," after he and his girlfriend were arrested over the weekend in connection with an altercation at her home.

Word of the decision came just before Ralston and his girlfriend Vita Shannon were scheduled to appear in court after being arrested on Sunday and spending a night in jail.

Assistant City Attorney Vince DiCroce said attorneys reviewed the case and evidence and didn't think they had reasonable chance of convicting Ralston.

He wouldn't elaborate or say why prosecutors decided to continue the case against Shannon, who has been charged with assault, disturbing the peace and wrongs to minors, a charge used when children are present during an incident but not necessarily hurt.

Police documents allege Shannon, the mother of Ralston's 8-week-old daughter, struck Ralston twice in the back of the head with her fists, and that he shoved her as she was leaving her home. The documents said they were arguing over another one of Ralston's children.

Ralston's attorney, Jeff Pagliuca, declined to comment. Larry Ralston told The Associated Press that his son and Shannon had "a heated argument."

"They're two good parents involved here that care very much for their young daughter," he said.

Shannon, dressed in a yellow- and white-striped jail uniform, appeared in court, where her attorney, Dru Neilsen, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. Shannon said nothing herself.

Police documents say the couple's infant was present at the time of the altercation. There was no indication the child was hurt.

Family members said Shannon's mother has been caring for the child since the couple's arrest.

Shannon could face fines of up to $999 and a sentence of up to a year in jail if convicted.

Ralston cut off his forearm to free himself from a dislodged boulder in a Utah canyon in 2003.

He was "canyoneering" — making his way down a narrow canyon — at the time. After five days with little food and water, he broke his arm and then amputated it with a knife to escape.

He detailed his struggles in a book, "Between a Rock and Hard Place," which was adapted into the Oscar-nominated "127 Hours."

Ralston became a celebrity, making inspirational speeches and championing environmental causes.

He also continued his adventurous life using prosthetics he helped develop. He completed a nine-year project to scale the highest point in all 50 states and became the first person to solo climb all 59 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in winter.

___

Associated Press Writer Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.