Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
In Lincoln County Court Thursday, Anthony Navarrete-James, 25, appeared before Judge Michael Piccolo to contest the charge of assaulting a police officer.Navarrete-James was arrested May 21, after a 17-year-old girl told police she received vulgar and threatening text messages from him.
The girl showed the messages to officers. She said he was an ex-coworker at the Subway in Love’s Travel Center and she was even afraid to walk to her car because of his threats.
She said she warned Navarrete-James that she might call the police, and he made a threat about harming the police officer who showed up, police spokesman John Deal said.
According to court records, when officer Daniel Wilkerson went to Navarrete-James’ home in the 1800 block of W. 14th to question him, he was assaulted.
Navarrete-James is charged with stalking and resisting arrest, as well as assault of a police officer.
In court, Deputy County Attorney Kortnei Hoeft called Wilkerson to the stand and asked what happened. Wilkerson said Navarrete-James answered the door and “wasn’t pleased to see me and told me to get out of there.”
Wilkerson said he tried to explain why he was there, and calm him down, but Navarrete-James refused to listen or cooperate.
“He got up in my face and then touched me and patted me on the arm. I told him to stop,” Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said Navarrete-James decided to go back into his house.
“I grabbed his arm and we kind of wrestled into the house,” he said.
He said that Navarrete-James slammed the door on his arm and the fighting continued. They wrestled on the floor.
“He poked at my eye and scratched me,” Wilkerson said.
When they finally got the suspect to jail, he had to be carried from the squad car, Wilkerson said.
In cross examination, Defense Attorney Robert Lindemeier asked Wilkerson if he had training on handling mental health issues.
“A little,” he said.
Lindemeier asked if he was familiar with Navarrete-James, and Wilkerson said he knew when he took his meds he was okay, and when he didn’t, he had problems.
Lindemeier asked if he went to the house to arrest his client.
“Not at that time,” he said. “I was there to hear his side of the story.”
The questioning ended. In closing arguments, Hoeft said the testimony of the officer was evidence that an assault occurred.
Lindemeier, however, maintained that the officer may not have had a right to try to go into Navarrete-James’ home.
Piccolo ruled there was probable cause to believe a crime was committed, and bound the case over to district court.
Navarette-James was initially held on a $150,000 bond. The bond has been lowered to $50,000. He remains in the Lincoln County jail.