The man accused of barricading himself and a 17-year-old boy in the Kalispell Super 8 Motel on New Year’s Eve for six hours pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony kidnapping and criminal endangerment.
Thomas Mulligan, 36, was visibly agitated before and during his arraignment, at one point vocally seeking District Court Judge Ted Lympus’ attention during someone else’s arraignment. Sheriff’s deputies quieted him.
Dressed in a blue, county jail-issued uniform, Mulligan raised his hand during arraignments that preceded his, pulled his shirt over his face and then made a clapping noise that earned him more attention from nearby sheriff’s deputies.
Mulligan’s attorney, Glen Neier, entered not guilty pleas for his client on both felony charges and had a brief conference with his client during the hearing.
According to court documents, Kalispell police received a dispatch on Dec. 31 requesting help locating Mulligan, who had a felony warrant for an alleged parole violation from Oregon.
Police say Mulligan and a 17-year-old boy were traveling in a vehicle that was stolen from the boy’s grandmother in Filer, Idaho. Officers spotted the vehicle at the Super 8 Motel in Kalispell and were told by a clerk that a man named Mulligan was staying there and had registered the vehicle.
After answering through the door, Mulligan refused to open it for officers, allegedly yelling that he had a gun and would use it to kill himself and the boy. The officers called a SWAT response team and negotiators.
Police say they could hear the boy asking Mulligan to let him leave, but the man refused. The boy told officers that he could not open the door and Mulligan allegedly kept threatening to kill both of them rather than go to jail.
After a six-hour standoff, officers made a forced entry into the room shortly before 5 p.m. with a battering ram. They used it again on the bathroom door, where Mulligan had barricaded himself and the boy.
Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said officers used three flash-bang grenades in the process.
Once Mulligan was subdued, officers say he told police that he had a gun in order to prolong the time he could stay in the room. He also allegedly admitted that he had placed himself and the boy in a dangerous situation and that he had not allowed the boy to leave the room.
Mulligan has a prior criminal history that includes felony theft and burglary charges, as well as a kidnapping conviction. He is being held at the Flathead County jail on $50,000 bond and has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for May 25. His criminal trial may not begin until summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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