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A McKinleyville man has been ordered to stand trial for the attempted murder of his girlfriend’s father, whose throat was slashed as he slept.
Today Judge Marilyn Miles, after hearing evidence presented in a preliminary hearing, held Erick Allen Battersby to answer on charges of attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and making terrorist threats. His arraignment was set for Feb. 16.
Battersby allegedly attacked Mark Minton in the early morning hours of Dec. 3 as Minton lay sleeping on a friend’s couch in McKinleyville. Minton said he awoke with Battersby on top of him and a knife blade on his neck.
“The first thing was feeling the knife on my throat and him screaming that he was going to kill me,” Minton testified under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees. “…We started wrestling and engaging in combat.”
He also said Battersby put a thumb in his eye, “trying to tear my eye out.”
Minton, 60, said he was able to knock the knife out of Battersby’s hand. Then Lance Lorenzen, the main occupant of the house, pulled Battersby off Minton and “kneed him in the face a couple of times,” Minton said. One more roommate joined in the fight, and Battersby was ejected from the house on Chub Lane in McKinleyville.
Minton indicated that Battersby, who was dating his daughter, was angry because he had reported the daughter to authorities. He had called Child Protective Services because he was upset about how his grandchildren were living.
Minton said Battersby yelled that “I’m going to kill you for what you put me through.”
After the attack Minton, who had no cellphone, walked about a block to Ray’s Sentry Market. He was unaware of the cut on his throat, but his nose was bleeding and an old knee injury had been aggravated. He asked a bakery worker at Ray’s to call paramedics. He could not recall why he didn’t contact police.
At Mad River Community Hospital Minton refused stitches for his neck wound, getting a “butterfly” bandage instead. He said the cut was about 2 inches long and probably about one-eighth inch deep. He still bears a scar, which he showed to the judge today.
Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Mathieson testified he was dispatched that morning to Denny’s restaurant in McKinleyville. Someone was concerned about a man with a bloody face. That turned out to be Battersby, who refused medical treatment.
At this point Mathieson knew nothing about the earlier attack on Minton. But Minton’s daughter Jilene was with Battersby, and announced spontaneously that her father had “jumped Erick.” The daughter also said “Don’t believe my father, Erick didn’t rob or break into that house.”
Deputy Public Defender Kaleb Cockrum, arguing that Battersby should not be held to answer, said Mark Minton was an unreliable witness who made many contradictory statements.
Among the discrepancies, Cockrum said, Minton claimed he wanted the knife saved as evidence but then didn’t call police. He also pointed out that Minton was unclear about the order of events, as well as who was involved in the altercation.
“There are a lot of black holes in this case,” Cockrum said.
Rees conceded that Minton was uncertain about some details, but said he was understandably traumatized by waking to find someone holding a knife to his throat and threatening to kill him.
Battersby, 32, is being held on $500,000 bail.