Matthew Ellis Kinney

{span}Matthew Ellis Kinney{/span}

An Idaho Falls man who repeatedly used an electric weapon on a woman was sentenced Tuesday to a rider program.

District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. had strong words for Matthew Kinney, 41, saying his actions fell between abuse and torture. The judge put Kinney on a rider program at the recommendation of the prosecutor and presentence investigator.

Kinney was arrested in July after a neighbor reported seeing him chase the victim. According to the probable cause affidavit, the victim had grabbed an electronic restraining device similar to a Taser while the two were arguing.

The victim reported Kinney grabbed the device from her, chased her into the living room and shocked her. The victim escaped outside, where she said Kinney caught her, held her down by her neck and repeatedly used the device on her.

The victim read an impact statement to the court, saying she was afraid Kinney would kill her.

"My dog Milo came to my rescue before any human did," she said.

According to both the affidavit and the victim, her dog got between Kinney and the victim during the fight. Kinney used the electric device on the dog before focusing on the victim.

"'He is in fact using a Taser on me.' These are the thoughts going through my head right before I realized that if that if I don't fight my way out from under Matt, I will lose consciousness and he will kill me," the victim said.

The attack didn't stop until an officer arrived at the scene and ordered Kinney to drop the weapon.

Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Tanner Crowther said Kinney's version of events, that he used the device only once in self-defense, wasn't credible. Crowther cited the various injuries found on the victim and the witness who saw him tackle the victim.

Crowther also cited Kinney's criminal history, which included several domestic violence cases that had been dismissed, as well as violations of no-contact orders.

Defense Attorney Rocky Wixom said his client went too far in attacking the victim, but pointed out that she was the one who drew the electric device and his client was responding to a threat.

"We know she was willing to use it," Wixom said. "She pulled it out. You don't bring a knife to a fist fight."

Wixom also said Kinney was drunk during the fight. He said Kinney could receive treatment while on probation or with a local jail sentence.

Kinney said the reports on the attack exaggerated how many times he used the device on the victim. He said his reputation had unfairly suffered because of the crime. He apologized to the victim and said he lost control.

"I don't want it to come off that I was some woman-beating scumbag," Kinney said.

Watkins told Kinney that he was not considering a probation sentence due to the seriousness of the crime. He also said the exact number of times Kinney used the device mattered less than that he used it multiple times.

"You don't want to put a number on that because if it's more than one, it becomes an extremely aggravating case," Watkins said.

Watkins gave Kinney an underlying sentence of two to seven years in prison. A rider program, also called retained jurisdiction, allows a defendant to undergo a treatment program lasting six months to a year. The judge will review a report of the defendant's performance in the program, and then decide whether to release them on probation or impose a prison sentence.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.

Load comments