By TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian | Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:15 pm |
Frenchtown groom-to-be charged after party turns into violent night on town
Besides the ceremonial wedding band, Jordan B. Iddings will wear an electronic monitoring bracelet during his weekend nuptials.
The 24-year-old Frenchtown man stands accused of sexually assaulting a woman and head-butting a Missoula police officer at his bachelor party last month, and pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.
However, the court-ordered monitoring bracelet is a condition of his continued release from jail.
Dressed in slacks and a suit coat, Iddings appeared for the arraignment hearing alongside his attorney, Lance Lovell, of Billings. He entered not guilty pleas to a felony count of assault on a peace officer, and misdemeanor charges of sexual assault, disorderly conduct and two separate counts of assault.
Lovell asked the judge to allow his client to travel to Alaska next month to work on a fishing boat until trial, which is slated for April 19. District Judge Ed McLean said he would permit the travel on the condition that Iddings wear an electronic monitoring bracelet until he leaves Montana.
The judge also ordered him to stay out of bars and not consume any alcohol, and told Iddings that he must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. Lovell explained that the fishing boat primarily stays at sea, where Iddings will not be able to go to bars or consume alcohol.
"If he's observed in any bars in any community, he's to be arrested immediately and held in custody without the benefit of bail," McLean said.
Iddings was released from the Missoula County Detention Facility on bail shortly after his arrest. He leaves for Alaska on Jan. 7, and will return to Montana for the entire month of April before heading back to Alaska for work, according to his attorney.
Lovell stressed that the case is still in the early stages of evidence discovery and the investigation is ongoing. Attorneys on both sides are still trying to develop a clear picture of what happened the night of the party, he said.
"It was quite an event, I guess, but it's very difficult to see what the witnesses are saying," Lovell said. "Right now I don't think either side has a very clear picture of exactly who said what. It's very easy for bartenders to say things, but it's much more difficult to prove it. We need to get to the bottom of it and we're working diligently to do that."
Iddings and five other members of his bachelor party were arrested on Nov. 19 after Iddings allegedly groped a woman in a Missoula bar and, when the woman slapped him, punched her in the face, according to charging records. The group then moved to another downtown bar and allegedly began fighting with bartenders who refused to serve the men and told them to leave.
Witnesses told police that Iddings, who was shouting profanities outside of the bar, had been a primary aggressor. Iddings was uncooperative with police, and as the officers walked Iddings to a patrol car to arrest him, he suddenly lunged at a sergeant and head-butted him, striking the officer's right temple with his forehead, according to the court papers.
A co-defendant in the case, Ryan Schnabl, is charged with tampering with evidence and theft, both felonies, and misdemeanor assault.
Schnabl allegedly stole a video camera from a limousine driver hired to chauffeur members of the bachelor party from bar to bar. The driver told police that he began recording members of the group during the melee at Red's bar because the bachelor party was out of control, and the men were trying to fight "anyone who got in their way."
When Schnabl spotted the driver with the camera, he ran toward him, punched him in the side of the head and took the camera away, records state. Other members of the party began moving toward the driver, who was so frightened that he pulled out a small revolver to defend himself. He told police he almost pulled the trigger, records state.
Iddings is not allowed to have any contact with Schnabl or any of the alleged victims in the case, but a judge is allowing Schnabl to attend Iddings' wedding on Dec. 19. The men are not allowed to consume any alcohol.
Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at 523-5264 or at email@example.com.
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Tags: wedding, electronic bracelet, assault, bachelor party,
Location: Missoula, Montana, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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