A man accused of hitting his friend in the head with a hammer in November denied the single felony charge brought against him Thursday morning in Natrona County District Court.

David Keith Taylor, 28, pleaded not guilty to a single count of aggravated assault and battery. He could face up to 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Charging documents say shortly before 10 p.m. on Nov. 22, Dennis Farris called 911 to report that Taylor had hit Michael Mondle in the head with a hammer at a home in Edgerton.

Farris said Mondle was bleeding heavily, but was conscious. Taylor had taken off after the alleged assault.

At about 10:15 p.m., a Natrona County Sheriff's deputy arrived at the home and saw a large amount of blood on the floor throughout the house. Mondle was on the floor of the kitchen/living room, court documents say, and was pressing a blood-soaked rag against his head.

Medical workers treated the wound to Mondle's head. Mondle was alert and coherent, but was in severe pain. He walked out of the house under his own power and was taken by ambulance to Wyoming Medical Center.

The deputy interviewed Farris, who said he had gone over to Mondle's house -- where the alleged assault occurred -- to hang out. At about 9:15 p.m., Taylor had arrived in a red Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Both Mondle and Taylor had recently lost their mothers, Farris explained, and Taylor had come over to speak about the deaths. While Mondle and Farris were both sober, Farris told the deputy, Taylor arrived "extremely intoxicated."

After several minutes of friendly conversation, Taylor tried to give Mondle a "drunken hug," according to the affidavit. Mondle resisted the hug due to extreme back pain resulting from previous injuries.

Taylor repeatedly tried to force the hug on Mondle, and reportedly became physically aggressive with the hug attempts. Mondle told Taylor to leave, as Taylor had become obnoxious.

Taylor reportedly refused to leave. Mondle and Farris had to push him toward the front door. Once at the front door, it appeared as though Taylor would leave willingly, so Farris walked back into the kitchen area.

Farris, he told deputies, then heard a loud crash and heard Mondle scream. Farris found Taylor on top of Mondle on the floor of a nearby room, and Taylor was wrestling with Mondle.

Farris said he saw a large framing hammer in Mondle's right hand, and a large bleeding cut on Mondle's head. Farris recognized the hammer, as he had seen it previously on a counter near the front door.

Farris pulled Taylor of Mondle and placed Taylor in a "bear hug." Farris then dragged Taylor the front door, where Taylor quickly ran out of the house, jumped into his Trailblazer and quickly drove off.

Mondle told Farris that Taylor had hit him in the head with the hammer. Farris put a towel on the wound and called 911. Farris told police he thought Taylor lived somewhere in Casper, but he wasn't sure.

Authorities searched the Edgerton, Midwest and Gas Plant areas for Taylor. At about 1:23 a.m. on Nov. 23, deputies learned that Taylor was possibly headed to Edgerton to pick up his wife.

At about 2 a.m., officers went to a home in Edgerton and spoke with a friend of Taylor's girlfriend. That woman said Taylor's girlfriend was afraid of Taylor and wanted to get away from him.

The woman offered to go pick up Taylor from the Midwest cooling pond, where she had dropped him off earlier after giving him a ride from a truck stop in Edgerton. She returned with Taylor some time later, and officers arrested him.

Taylor remains in custody on bond pending trial.

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