Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ released from jail

Pothier was ‘cooperative and helpful’ at second court appearance

Express Staff Writer

Christopher D. Pothier

A Blaine County man accused of severely beating his girlfriend, and who claimed to be a prophet and reportedly drooled and screamed at his initial court appearance, has been released from Blaine County Jail.

Thirty-year-old Christopher D. Pothier was freed from custody on Thursday, May 1, after posting $80,000 bond. His release followed arraignment earlier that day in Blaine County Magistrate Court on a felony charge of domestic battery resulting in traumatic injury.

Pothier had been held without bond pending a mental evaluation following his arrest on April 23. Magistrate Court Judge Mark Ingram, who normally presides in Lincoln County, allowed the bond after Pothier was reportedly "cooperative and helpful" at his May 1 court appearance.

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas requested that bond be set at $250,000.

Although Ingram presided at the arraignment, he has not been assigned to hear the case, which now has a third judge, following two other bench disqualifications.

Blaine County Magistrate Judge R. Ted Israel removed himself following Pothier's initial court appearance, and the case was assigned to Camas County Magistrate Judge Jason Walker. Following Pothier's May 1 arraignment, Hailey attorney Douglas Werth, who is representing Pothier, filed a disqualification motion against Walker and the case was reassigned to Gooding County Magistrate Judge Casey Robinson.

Pothier is accused of severely beating his girlfriend at the couple's home on First Avenue North in Gannett on the evening of April 22 and into the next morning. A Blaine County Sheriff's Office report alleges that Pothier beat the woman in front of her 5- and 7-year-old children in an attempt to force her to "repent in front of these children for being a whore."

The sheriff's office report further alleges that Pothier claimed to be a prophet at the time of his arrest.

Pothier's initial court appearance on April 24 had to be suspended after Pothier, according to court records, was "drooling and screaming" and had to be kept in physical restraints. Judge Israel ordered a mental evaluation before removing himself from the case.

Pothier was also charged last summer with five felonies, including forcible rape, kidnapping and battery, for allegedly abducting, sexually assaulting and committing violence against the same woman, who was then 26. The charges were later dismissed after the woman notified the court that "the allegations were blown out of proportion" and that she would not testify against Pothier at an upcoming preliminary hearing.

Court records indicate that Pothier was "cooperative and helpful" at his May 1 arraignment on the new charge and was no longer acting erratically.

Werth told the court that his client has no prior mental health history and has not been on medication for mental illness.

Court records further state that Pothier has no prior criminal convictions, other than traffic offenses, has lived in Blaine County for 14 years and is self-employed. His mother and a sister live in Twin Falls and another sister lives in Hagerman. Records further state that a home Pothier owns in Blaine County is in foreclosure and that the defendant will be staying with his family.

As a condition of his release, Pothier was ordered to cooperate with the mental evaluation and is not to leave the 5th Judicial District, which includes the eight counties in the Wood River and Magic valleys.

A court order has been issued that requires Pothier to not be in contact or within 300 feet of the alleged victim.

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