Friday, August 1, 2008

'Prophet' back on the streets

Domestic violence suspect released in unusual bonding arrangement

Express Staff Writer

Christopher Pothier

A man who claims to be a "Prophet for Jesus" and is accused of misdemeanor telephone harassment and felony domestic battery was released late Wednesday afternoon from the Blaine County Jail.

Thirty-year-old Christopher Pothier's release was made possible by an unusual bonding arrangement imposed by 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee. Pothier was held on $150,000 bail on the domestic battery charge until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, when the bond reverted to the earlier amount of $80,000.

Melissa Roemer, an agent with Hometown Bail Bonds in Hailey, reinstated the $80,000 bond and posted an additional $5,000 for the telephone harassment charge.

Pothier had been incarcerated since Monday, when he voluntarily surrendered at the jail after he learned a new warrant had been issued for his arrest. That warrant stemmed from the telephone harassment charge, which also covers electronic messages, that was filed last week and led to revocation of bail on the domestic battery charge that was filed in April.

Pothier is a former Blaine County resident who is now living with family in Twin Falls and working at a convenience store. He also runs an online business that sells health food and dietary supplements and is called "Wholefoodtoday."

As a condition of his release, Pothier is not allowed to be in Blaine County except for court appearances. He is scheduled for an Aug 15 pretrial conference on the telephone harassment charge. A pretrial conference on the domestic battery charge is set for Sept. 29 and trial is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Roemer said Thursday that she's had no problems with Pothier on the bonding arrangements, wherein he is required to pay a 10 percent fee to the bonding agency.

"Chris was out on bond with us before and we didn't have any problems with him," Roemer said. "He checks in with me three times a week."

Pothier's earlier arrangement with the bonding agency was in the summer of 2007 when he was charged with rape, kidnapping and three other felonies for crimes allegedly committed against his former girlfriend, a 27-year-old Blaine County woman. Those charges were dismissed after the woman notified the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office that she would not testify against Pothier and that the "allegations were blown out proportion."

Pothier is currently charged with beating the same woman on April 22, an allegation that led to the felony domestic battery charge. The woman testified at Pothier's preliminary hearing on July 1 that Pothier "punched me in the lower left jaw" and inflicted other injuries to "let the demons come out."

The woman has since attempted to recant her testimony and has asked that the charge be dismissed. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office has said it will proceed with prosecution of Pothier anyway.

The latest charge alleges that Pothier wrote harassing or threatening emails to a former church acquaintance. Additional information on the charge is not currently available because the court file has been sealed.

Judge Elgee told Pothier at his arraignment on the charge Tuesday that he's on a short-leash with the court.

"Obviously, the concern is the state wants you in jail because they're afraid you're going to do something," Elgee said. "I'll be honest with you, I get the impression that you're dangerous. You give me any reason at all, and I guarantee you will not leave jail at all."

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