Casper Man Charged in Meth Conspiracy Denies Holding Woman at Knifepoint
A man accused of selling methamphetamine in the Casper area was arraigned Tuesday morning on allegations that he attacked his then-girlfriend, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.
John Edward Hatch, 23, pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated assault and battery and one count of domestic battery. He could spend 10 years, six months in prison if convicted of both charges.
Charging documents say the victim told police she was in her home Jan. 11 at 3 a.m. and was using her computer when Hatch came in through the front door and asked to borrow $500.
She refused to loan him the money, court documents say, so Hatch got angry and an argument ensued.
The victim told police she got up to walk away from Hatch when he grabbed her and threw her to the floor, causing her to hit her head. Hatch then allegedly sat on top of the victim, pinned her arms to her sides and began punching and slapping her.
Hatch then reportedly put both his hands at the base of the victim's neck and squeezed, though the victim said he did not affect her breathing or cut off her air supply.
According to the victim's statement, Hatch then pulled a pocket knife from his jeans, extended the blade, placed it to her throat and threatened to kill her.
While he was on top of the victim, Hatch allegedly grabbed her backpack and took $367 in cash, a visa debit card and her photo ID before grabbing her vehicle keys and taking off.
Hatch reportedly returned the victim's vehicle the next day. She was arrested by agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation later in the day on a charge of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine.
The victim said she lied to DCI agents and said Hatch had not assaulted in her any way, according to court documents.
Her injuries included a slight bruise on her right cheek, a bruise on her upper chest area near her collarbone and a bruise on her right elbow, the affidavit says.
An officer placed placed a phone call to Hatch, who allegedly acknowledged his request for money and the argument that followed, but denied any physical violence took place. He also reportedly said another woman had gone with him to the victim's home, but that woman stayed outside during the argument.
In a separate case, Hatch is accused of selling methamphetamine in the Casper area. Levi H. Howes is listed in court records as a co-defendant in the case. He and Hatch are each charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine.
Hatch told the officer he thought the alleged victim was making up the story about the assault because she was angry that she had been arrested in connection to the drug investigation. He also said after he left, the victim sent him text messages saying she was going to get him in trouble, according to court documents.
Hatch remains in custody on $10,000 cash or surety bond. His trial is set for May 15.