The third man accused of beating a man in a Ferndale parking lot on the Fourth of July pleaded not guilty to a felony assault charge last week.
Gaige Christopher Mower appeared in Flathead County District Court on Aug. 8 to enter his not guilty plea to a felony aggravated assault charge stemming from what officials described as a road rage incident over the holiday weekend.
The other two men charged in the assault – Andrew Nelson and Ryan Horn – pleaded not guilty to the charges against them on Aug. 1.
According to court records and the assault victim, Antonio Valencia, the three men were in a green Subaru behind Valencia on Highway 209 outside of Bigfork on the Fourth of July. Valencia told investigators that the Subaru had been tailgating him, and that he pulled into the parking lot at the Ferndale Market in an attempt to get away from them.
Prosecutors say Nelson, Horn and Mower got out of the Subaru and immediately began physically attacking Valencia.
Security camera and witness video footage show three men beating Valencia. Nelson is also facing an assault with a weapon charge due to his alleged use of a golf club during the attack, which prosecutors say he used to hit Valencia “until the golf club broke.”
Footage also shows Horn and Mower hitting Valencia with their fists, as well as choking him, according to court filings.
All of the men left the scene, and a witness called 911 to report the fight.
Officers made contact with Valencia at his home and saw he was visibly injured. He was taken by ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment, where it was determined he had multiple injuries, including a fracture to his C-5 vertebrae.
In interviews with officers, Horn allegedly said he had a role in the attack and that he saw Nelson leave the Subaru with a golf club in his hand. Nelson also allegedly confirmed that he took part in the assault.
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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