Denver Police Department
Aron Ralston in his booking mug over the weekend.
Domestic violence charges were dismissed Monday against Aron Ralston, the hiker who inspired the Oscar-nominated movie "127 Hours" by sawing off his own arm to escape from a boulder he was pinned beneath.
An initial hearing for Ralston, 38, was canceled Monday after a judge agreed to the city attorney's request to drop the charges.
Ralston and his girlfriend, Vita Stramaglia Shannon, also 38, were both charged Sunday with assault and wrongs to minors — accusations they leveled against each other. Shannon pleaded not guilty Monday to those charges, as well as to an added charge of disturbing the peace, and was free on $550 bail.
"Wrongs to minors" describes a violent incident that occurs in the presence of a child who isn't injured. In this case, the child was the couple's 8-week-old daughter, according to a police affidavit, which said the incident occurred Saturday night in Shannon's Denver-area apartment.
According to the affidavit, Ralston "was struck twice in the back of the head with fists by (Shannon), ensuing an argument they had regarding the victim's other son." Shannon alleged, in return, that Ralston "shoved her on the shoulder," the affidavit said.
Ralston's father, Larry Ralston, told NBC's Denver affiliate KUSA that "I'm confident that Aron didn't hit or strike anyone," adding: "Both he and Vita have the greatest love for their infant daughter."
James Franco was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor in 2010 for playing Ralston in the film "127 Hours," which depicted with excruciating vividness Ralston's dilemma as he endured five days and seven hours with his right hand pinned under an 800-pound boulder in Blue John Canyon in southeastern Utah in 2003.
The movie was based on Ralston's 2004 book, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place."
In a 2005 profile on "Dateline NBC," Ralston told of how he assumed he was going to die because no one knew where he was. He recorded goodbye videos on the camera he'd brought alone, asking whoever found them to make sure his parents got them.
"So again love to everyone," he said in one of them. "Bring love and peace and happiness and beautiful lives into the world in my honor. Thank you. Love you."
After five days, however, Ralston decided he might make it if he cut off his arm — which he proceeded to do with the small, dull blade on his multi-tool. Then, with only one arm — and the other bleeding profusely — he rappelled down a 65-foot cliff and began hiking to his car seven miles away. A Dutch tourist family found him and summoned authorities.
The arm was recovered and cremated.
Vicky Collins of NBC News contributed to this report.
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First published December 9 2013, 3:11 PM