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Gun assault alleged in incident between couple and truck driver

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | August 5, 2022 7:00 AM

A Lincoln County man is accused of a gun crime after an incident involving his partner and a truck driver last month on U.S. 2.

Charles Fernley Woods Jr., 67, of Libby, is charged with felony assault with a weapon, one count of misdemeanor partner or family member assault, and one misdemeanor count of criminal destruction of a communication device

Woods Jr. pleaded not guilty to all three charges on July 25 in Lincoln County District Court.

According to the probable cause statement by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Derryberry, he responded to a location on Either Way North and learned that Woods Jr. thought his partner was having an affair with a truck driver. Woods allegedly confronted the driver and his partner on U.S. 2. Woods told the truck driver to leave and when the driver turned his back and began to walk back to his truck, Woods allegedly fired a round from his handgun into the ground.

Derryberry then wrote in his report that after Woods and his partner returned home, he allegedly tampered with the home phone so she couldn’t call law enforcement. Woods also disconnected a wire to the battery in his partner’s vehicle in an effort to keep her from leaving the residence, according to the court document.

The woman then walked away and she reported hearing a gun shot and believed Woods had shot himself. Woods allegedly told Derryberry he fired a gun shot because he wanted her to believe he shot himself.

Later, Derryberry found Woods’ partner walking down U.S. 2. When interviewing her, she said she was afraid Woods was going to shoot her.

The officer also spoke to the truck driver who was sleeping in his vehicle at mile marker 75 on U.S. 2. He said he turned his back to Woods because he believed he had a gun and was afraid because he didn’t carry a gun.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Woods Jr. on Nov. 7.

The maximum penalty for assault with a weapon is 20 years in the Montana State Prison. For partner or family member assault, the maximum is one year in the county jail and for criminal destruction of a communication device is six months in the county jail.