Willful injury trial set for March 4

CLINTON — A trial is scheduled to begin in March for a Delmar man who withdrew from a plea agreement reached in October.

A jury trial for Alexander L. Koontz, 22, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. March 4. Final pretrial conferences are scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 21. The order following pretrial conference says Koontz withdrew from the plea agreement, waived the right to a speedy trial and demanded the right to a trial by jury. The State is represented by Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow. Koontz is represented by defense attorney John Kies.

Koontz is charged with willful injury causing serious injury, domestic abuse-assault impeding flow of air/blood and assault while displaying a dangerous weapon.

Koontz pleaded guilty in October to one count of willful injury causing bodily injury, a Class D felony, and domestic abuse-assault by impeding breathing or circulation, an aggravated misdemeanor.

According to the affidavit, on July 22, 2017, deputies were dispatched to Koontz's residence for an incident between Koontz and two other individuals. The two individuals are the parents of Koontz's girlfriend. Koontz's girlfriend was present at the incident.

Koontz's girlfriend told a deputy she had been choked, hit on the face and burned by Koontz in a separate and unrelated incident on July 19, 2017, and July 20, 2017, in rural Clinton County. She went to the Jackson County Regional Health Center Emergency Room following the July 22 incident and was treated for the injuries she sustained on July 19 and July 20. The deputy observed burn injuries on both of the female's arms and a burn injury on her forehead. The deputy observed bruising and red marks on the female's face.

The affidavit continues the female told an officer that on July 19, 2017, Koontz picked her up from her work at or about 11 p.m. They proceeded to drive around the area of rural Clinton County between Delmar and Lost Nation on gravel roads. Koontz became upset with the female about a perceived situation between the female and another male. The female reported that sometime late on the night of July 19, 2017, or early on July 20, 2017, Koontz parked the vehicle on a remote gravel road.

"Koontz then proceeded to pull (victim) from the passenger front seat toward him in the driver's seat," the affidavit states. "Koontz then put his right arm around (victim)'s neck and choked her until she nearly passed out. (Victim) stated as she was choked she lost her vision and could only hear what was going on."

The affidavit continues that the female reported Koontz then struck her face. The female reported Koontz used a cigarette lighter to heat up the top part of a black and red handheld torch. Koontz put the heated torch onto the skin of her forearms, causing several burns likely to cause permanent disfigurement. The female also reported Koontz extinguished a lighted cigarette on her forehead.

The female said she attempted to exit the vehicle, at which time Koontz grabbed her by the back of the head and pulled her back into the vehicle. The female reported she attempted to inform a friend of her location. Koontz took away the female's phone so she could not use it.

According to a separate affidavit, at 7:20 p.m. July 22, 2017, Clinton County deputies were dispatched to Koontz's residence for a domestic abuse report. Deputies were advised the male assaulted the caller's daughter and was on the roof of the residence with a gun. The caller stated he was threatening a male. A deputy arrived on scene and was able to detain the male subject with the gun. The male subject was later identified as Koontz.

The affidavit states the officer spoke to the female victim, who stated she was put in a choke hold by Koontz that same day. The female said Koontz would not let her leave the residence and had limited her phone contact with family over the past couple days. The female's parents showed up looking for her. They were able to get the female out of the house and away from Koontz. The female said Koontz choked her for approximately 30 seconds. The female said she saw Koontz with a gun threatening her father.