Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bar and jail fracases lead to felony charges

Twin Falls woman faces eight crimes following Halloween disturbances

Express Staff Writer

Lori M. Brutsche-Ely

A former Blaine County woman has been charged with eight crimes—five of them felonies—following alleged altercations on Halloween night at The Mint nightclub in Hailey and later at the Blaine County Jail.

Forty-one-year-old Lori M. Brutsche-Ely, who now lives in Twin Falls, is charged with four felony counts of battery against police officers or jailers, another felony for allegedly destroying jail equipment, and misdemeanor charges of battery, indecent exposure and malicious injury to property.

The defendant was formally charged with the crimes on Nov. 3 in Blaine County Magistrate Court. Bond was set at $100,000 and public defender Douglas Werth was appointed to represent Brutsche-Ely.

She remained incarcerated in Blaine County Jail until Nov. 7, when she was released on $25,000 bond after bail was reduced a day earlier. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 3 p.m. on Nov. 18.

Magistrate Court Judge R. Ted Israel has been disqualified from the case on a motion to remove "without cause" filed by Werth. The case is now in the hands of Magistrate Judge Jason Walker, who normally presides in Camas County.

According to Blaine County court records, Brutsche-Ely was raised in Blaine County and is the "sole provider" of her 7-year-old son in Twin Falls. The records state that she is unemployed and taking courses at College of Southern Idaho. Also, her parents now live in Colorado but have "ties to the community" and have been in contact with Werth regarding the charges against their daughter.

The case against Brutsche-Ely started on Oct. 31 shortly before midnight when Hailey police were called to The Mint nightclub on Main Street on reports of a woman stealing beer from other patrons, exposing herself to the band, trying to start fights and refusing to leave the establishment.

Hailey officer Shelly Pharis wrote in a probable cause affidavit that when she arrived at the bar she found Brutsche-Ely, completely unclothed, outside and in front of the nightclub yelling at Mint security personnel and patrons who had followed the fracas outside.

Brutsche-Ely was charged with four crimes for things she allegedly did in or outside of the Mint. The misdemeanor indecent exposure charge alleges that Brutsche-Ely illegally exposed her private parts in public, while the misdemeanor battery charge alleges that she kicked Mint security man Mike Kimball in the groin.

Two charges of felony battery on a police officer allege that Brutsche-Ely struck Pharis "upon the upper body and face with her hand" and later kicked Pharis "upon her upper body."

Pharis, with the assistance of other officers, was able to transport Brutsche-Ely to jail, where four other crimes allegedly occurred. While in a holding cell, Brutsche-Ely allegedly broke a sprinkler head by striking it with a folded blanket, flooding the cell and causing more than $1,500 in damage.

She also allegedly battered jailer Laura Bowling by "slapping the victim's face and grabbing and pulling her hair." She also allegedly battered Sgt. Curtis Miller.

"We were still trying to control the female when I felt pain in my left shoulder," Miller wrote in a probable cause affidavit. "I looked and observed the woman biting me."

The final charge against Brutsche-Ely, misdemeanor malicious injury to property, alleges that she pulled and broke two chains that Miller was wearing around his neck.

Miller further reported that the bite broke the skin and he required a tetanus shot at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center.

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