Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Battery charge dismissed against Pothier

Erstwhile girlfriend recants statements once again


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Christopher D. Pothier

A felony domestic battery charge has been dismissed against Christopher D. Pothier, a man who has claimed to be a "prophet for Jesus."

The dismissal came Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court when Judge Robert J. Elgee approved a motion filed by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Pothier had been accused of felony domestic battery with traumatic injury against his former girlfriend, who has twice alleged violence against her by Pothier only to later recant her statements.

"Basically, the victim recanted many of her original allegations, which led the state to conclude that successful prosecution of Mr. Pothier would be impossible," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said Tuesday.

Elgee also rescinded a no-contact order, in part because the charge was dismissed and in part at the request of Pothier's on-again, off-again girlfriend, a 27-year-old Hailey woman who herself faces a criminal charge in Twin Falls County of illegal procurement of prescription drugs.

"Chris has always maintained his innocence and I'm pleased with the outcome," said Hailey attorney Douglas Werth, who served as public defender.

The charge against Pothier stemmed from an alleged altercation on April 22 when he was accused of beating the woman while the couple was driving from Twin Falls to Gannett, south of Bellevue. The woman testified at a preliminary hearing on July 1 that Pothier "punched me the lower left jaw" and inflicted other injuries to "let the demons come out of me."

The woman now says that's not the way it happened. In fact, she's now saying that if an altercation did occur, that it happened in Lincoln County rather than in Blaine County.

"I was not battered at any time by Christopher Pothier," the woman wrote in her application to dismiss the no-contact order. "I called the police because I was pressured to do so by people and because I was angry that Christopher Pothier and I were breaking up, and that he was going to keep possession of my laptop computer and car.

"I would like the no-contact order in this case terminated because I am not afraid of Christopher Pothier and do not believe he would harm me and because I need to speak with him about employment documents and because I need his help with personal matters and because we will continue to have a relationship once this is over."

Pothier was also charged in June 2007 with five felonies, including rape and kidnapping, for alleged crimes against the same woman. Those charges were also dismissed after the woman recanted her statements and wrote to the prosecutor's office that she would not testify.

Elgee dismissed the latest charge against Pothier "without prejudice," which leaves open the possibility that it can be refiled.

"This action could still be referred to the Lincoln County prosecutor and he could still bring an action in this case," Elgee said.

Fredback wrote in the motion to dismiss that "although the state is extremely reluctant to see this case dismissed, as it believes the defendant's actions in the case suggest that he remains a potential concern to the community, dismissal would serve the effective administration of the court's business."

Pothier still faces a misdemeanor charge of telephone harassment in Blaine County for allegedly sending threatening e-mails to a former church acquaintance. A jury trial on that charge is scheduled for Oct. 21 in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

Pothier, who previously lived in Hailey, is last known to have been staying with family in Twin Falls. He claimed to be a "prophet for Jesus" in literature he delivered or faxed to the Idaho Mountain Express last spring.




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