Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Troy man accused of attacking officers deemed fit to stand trial

The Western News | January 24, 2023 7:00 AM

A Troy man accused of attacking Police Chief Katie Davis during an incident last year has been deemed fit to stand trial.

Jonathan Joseph Peterson, 33, faces charges of assault on a peace officer, disorderly conduct, intimidation, resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer following a Jan. 2, 2022, police pursuit.

According to court documents, Peterson was evaluated by two doctors, William Stratford and Daniel Bemporad, in September 2022 at the Montana State Hospital. They determined Peterson was fit to proceed with his case.

But the case won’t proceed immediately because Peterson’s first public defender, Keenan Gallagher, was replaced by Ben Kolter, also of the state Public Defender’s Office.

At a Jan. 3 hearing, Kolter requested a 60-day continuance because he had just recently taken over the case. Missoula County District Judge Leslie Halligan, who took over the case from Judge Matt Cuffe, granted Kolter’s request. Peterson is scheduled to appear for a pre-trial conference on March 6.

Peterson, who is free on bail, is not allowed to possess weapons, use or possess drugs or alcohol and submit to testing when required. He must also comply with court-mandated mental health treatment, including taking prescribed medications and therapy.

In the January 2022 incident, police officers in Troy began looking for Peterson after a resident complained he was pounding on their door, according to court documents. In an affidavit, Troy Police officer Michael Miller recounted the ensuing pursuit, which led authorities along First Street, through a home, a backyard and onto Riverside Avenue.

Officers attempted several times to bring Peterson down using Tasers with little success, according to court documents.

As they attempted to corral Peterson, he allegedly charged Davis and grappled with her. Miller wrote that he struck Peterson, believing he was reaching for an item on Davis’ belt. The confrontation left Davis with a swollen and bleeding lip, court documents said. When they called for an ambulance crew to check on Peterson, he declined to go to a local medical center. According to Miller’s account, Peterson said the last time he had gone to the facility “a surgeon cut his throat and placed purple circles on his chest.”

Peterson has faced legal trouble in the past. In 2015, he was charged with violating an order of protection after he punched out the window of a vehicle occupied by his ex-wife. Court records show he violated the order two other times in 2014.

Peterson pleaded guilty in 2015 and received a 5-year suspended sentence. According to court documents, Peterson completed a 40 hours of counseling in March 2017.