Gavel

BLACKFOOT – Only two defendants among 14 scheduled for preliminary hearings before Magistrate Judge James Barrett for felony crimes Thursday opted to have their hearing and at the conclusion were bound over to District Court for plea arraignment.

Stefan Luke Lewis, 26, Blackfoot, is scheduled to enter a plea before Judge Darren Simpson on Dec. 9 to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Lewis is accused of operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol that crashed into a power pole and severely injured his passenger on May 30, causing her to undergo multiple surgeries. According to the Bingham County Sheriff’s Deputy who testified, Lewis had a blood alcohol content of .122. He was continued free on bond.

In the second hearing, Joseph David Richard, 42, Blackfoot, was bound over on the charge of attempted strangulation and domestic violence in the presence of children. He is scheduled to enter a plea before District Judge Stevan Thompson on Dec. 11.

Prior to the start of the hearing for Lewis, Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Cousin told the court the alleged victim and complaining witness was a reluctant participant in the proceedings. He said she didn’t want to testify against Richard and had to be subpoenaed.

On the witness stand, the victim testified that she and Richard had an argument after she told him to take his belongings and leave her home. She said during the argument she pushed him onto a bed, straddled him and punched him in the face several times, drawing blood.

It was after that that he put his hands around his neck, she said, but did not apply enough pressure to harm her.

When asked why she didn’t attempt to get away from him, she replied that she wasn’t afraid of him because she knew he wouldn’t really hurt her.

A Blackfoot police officer who responded to her call to 911 on the day it happened testified that the victim had marks on her neck that looked as though they could have been made by fingers, and the court viewed the marks on a video filmed by his body cam.

The officer, Stephen Scott, said when he returned to the victim’s house to get Richard’s phone number, she was on the phone with him. When he talked to Richard, Scott said the defendant told him his story didn’t matter, and said “you cops are going to pay for what happened to my niece at Rose Pond.” Scott said he didn’t know what that meant.

Richard’s public defender Manuel Murdoch moved for dismissal of the charges, saying the victim hadn’t been injured and that according to her testimony, she could have gotten away from him at any time.

In other court business, Jennifer Tweedy, 41, Colorado, waived preliminary hearing on two counts of possession of methamphetamine, one count of possession of heroin, and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She is scheduled to enter a plea before Judge Darren Simpson on Dec. 16. Her bail was reduced from $35,000 to $25,000 and she was remanded to custody.

James Tyler Sinclair, 35, St. Anthony, waived his preliminary hearing under the terms of a plea agreement that dismissed charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and being a persistent violator, and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in exchange for pleading guilty in District Court to fleeing or attempting to elude police. He is set to appear before Judge Darren Simpson on Dec. 9 and was remanded to custody in lieu of bail.

Charges against Kelsey A. Bear, 21, Fort Hall, of aggravated battery and burglary were dismissed without prejudice on the motion of prosecutor Paul Rogers.

Kelsey A. Bell, 26, Aberdeen, made her initial appearance on charges of trafficking marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jeffrey Kunz was appointed to represent her, and her preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 12. She was continued free on her own recognizance to pretrial services.

Jordan L. Fullmer, 30, Blackfoot, waived preliminary hearing for possession of methamphetamine and heroin, being a persistent violator, providing a fake ID to police, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting and obstructing police. He is set to enter a plea before Judge Stevan Thompson on Dec. 11. He was remanded to custody to await arrangements to grant him a furlough from jail.

Preliminary hearing for Kristopher Keiffer, 31, Blackfoot, was continued to Dec. 5 to give his public defender time to learn the facts about his case.

Cody Marie Jennings, 37, Blackfoot, waived preliminary hearing on a charge of fraudulent use of financial transaction cards and will enter a plea before Judge Simpson on Dec. 9.

Preliminary hearing for Randall Yman Teton on charges of burglary and grand theft was continued to Dec. 5 when his public defender Manuel Murdoch discovered he has a conflict of interest. Nathan Rivera was appointed to represent him and he was remanded to custody.

Preliminary hearing for Jason Dwayne Norman, 42, Basalt, on charges of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was continued to Dec. 12 after he announced he plans to hire private counsel.

Rachel A. Stevens, 31, Blackfoot, waived preliminary hearing on the charge of assault and battery on a police officer and misdemeanor charges of DUI, injury to a child and resisting and obstructing an officer. She is scheduled to enter a plea before Judge Simpson on Dec. 9.