Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Man gets hay-hooked in mid -valley fight

Rupert man charged with aggravated assault

Express Staff Writer

Gavin W. Freeman

A broken snow shovel and a hay hook were key ingredients to a fight on Saturday that sent one man to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center and landed another man in the Blaine County Jail.

Gavin W. Freeman, a 28-year-old Rupert man, has been charged with felony aggravated battery. Mark William Clifford, a 37-year-old mid-valley man, was treated Saturday evening at St. Luke's for a puncture wound to his neck and released from the hospital the following day.

Blaine County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said Clifford had employed Freeman and another man to help remove snow from roofs in the Cold Springs area south of Ketchum. Freeman apparently broke the handle on a snow scoop or shovel on Saturday evening and Clifford fired him on the spot and told him he had to pay for the damage from the money he had earned the previous day.

Davis said Freeman left but returned a short time later, complained that he shouldn't have to pay for the shovel, ripped some money up in front of Clifford and threw it. Things got physical and a fight broke out. At some point, Clifford got gouged in the neck with the hay hook, which is a metal hook about 6 inches long connected to a wood handle.

Davis said it's not clear which man struck first but Freeman was charged with a felony for allegedly bringing a weapon to the fracas.

"He apparently had taken the hook with him just in case he needed it," Davis said.

Clifford was taken to the hospital by the other worker. Freeman later turned himself in at the sheriff's office. He has since been released on $7,500 bond.

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