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Libby man accused of threatening witness

The Western News | August 26, 2022 7:00 AM

A Libby man accused of assaulting his wife has been charged with threatening her in an attempt to get the charge dropped.

Ralph Edward Miles, 37, is charged with one felony count of witness tampering. Miles pleaded not guilty to the alleged offense Monday, Aug. 22, in Lincoln County District Court.

According to charging documents, Miles was arrested on July 19 for alleged partner or family member assault. Miles pleaded not guilty and the case is pending in Lincoln County Justice Court. One of Miles’ release conditions is that he have no contact with the alleged victim.

On Aug. 2, the alleged victim called the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office about a request from public defender Keenan Gallagher to interview her. Gallagher is representing the defendant. She said she declined to be interviewed by Gallagher.

Lincoln County Attorney Marcia Boris and the alleged victim spoke about a potential plea offer during their conversation. Boris also communicated with Gallagher and said the alleged victim didn’t want to speak with him.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, later on the evening of Aug. 2, the woman spoke to Miles on the phone. She said he berated her for cooperating with the prosecution of the case, saying words to the effect that she should have said they were “working things out.” Miles allegedly told her that if she had done so, the prosecution would “go away.”

The alleged victim then called Boris on Aug. 3 and tearfully asked what needed to happen to “drop the charge.” Boris, according to charging documents, asked the woman what had prompted her change of heart. The woman then told Boris about the alleged call from Miles.

Later that morning, the alleged victim spoke to Lincoln County Detective Duane Rhodes. She said there had been contact between her and Miles since his release from jail. At first, the conversations were about parenting issues, but the woman said the talks evolved into discussions about the relationship and their divorce. She told Det. Rhodes that Miles made constant attempts to discourage her from pursuing the charges, according to the charging document. She said he allegedly made comments such as “You can stop this,” “You need to tell them I didn’t hit you” and “If you tell them to drop the charges, this will all go away.”

She also told Det. Rhodes that when she would stand firm, Miles would begin to make threats, including telling her he would take the house and kick her and her parents off the property, according to the charging document.

The woman said she believes Miles’ “end game” is to get the charges dropped.

Miles faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in the Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

His next court hearing is set for Oct. 31.