A Fourth of July assault at the Ferndale Market that involved an alleged golf club attack has resulted in at least four felony charges for three different men, with another potential misdemeanor charge in the future.
Gaige Christopher Mower and Ryan Horn both face aggravated assault charges, while Andrew Taylor Nelson has been charged with felony aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
According to court documents, the assault was the result of a road rage incident. The victim, Antonio Valencia, told investigators there had been an altercation between he and the driver of a green Subaru on Highway 209 outside of Bigfork, and that the Subaru had been tailgating him.
Another car also joined in, and Valencia said he pulled off the road at the Ferndale Market because he was frightened and knew there would be other people at the market.
He said three males from the Subaru – Mower, Horn and Nelson – got out of their vehicle and immediately began physically fighting with him. A fourth male also approached Valencia, and the Flathead County Attorney’s Office said there would likely be misdemeanor charges for him.
Mower, Horn and Nelson began beating Valencia, and Nelson hit him with a golf club several times, “until the golf club broke,” according to prosecutors. Security camera and witness video footage show all three men hitting Valencia during the attack, Nelson with the golf club and Horn and Mower with their fists. Horn and Mower appear to choke Valencia as well.
All of the men left the scene, and witnesses called 911 reporting what had happened.
Officers made contact with Valencia at his home, where they saw that he was visibly injured, and he was taken by ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where it was determined he had multiple injuries, including a fracture to his C-5 vertebrae.
Sheriff’s deputies were unable to find the men on July 4, but eventually found witnesses to bring in for questioning. Horn allegedly told investigators that he had a role in the assault, and that he had seen Nelson leave the car with a golf club in his hand. Nelson allegedly confirmed that he had used the golf club on Valencia during the attack.
Felony aggravated assault carries a potential 20-year prison term, as well as a maximum $50,000 fine. Assault with a weapon also carries a potential 20-year sentence, and maximum $50,000 fine.
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