Columbia Falls Man Accused of Beating Girlfriend, 4-Year-Old Son

Cody James Gaines pleaded not guilty to charges in District Court on Feb. 25

By Justin Franz

A Columbia Falls man denied allegations that he beat his girlfriend and 4-year-old son after drinking a pint of whiskey.

Cody James Gaines pleaded not guilty to charges of felony assault on a minor, misdemeanor partner or family member assault and misdemeanor driving under the influence during an arraignment hearing in Flathead County District Court on Feb. 25.

According to court documents, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a physical disturbance on South Hilltop Road in Columbia Falls on Feb. 2. When they arrived they talked to a woman who said her boyfriend, Gaines, had assaulted her and their son after she confronted him about his drinking. The woman said Gaines locked her out of the house before the 4-year-old let her back in. When she walked into the house, Gaines grabbed her and slammed her head against a wall. Gaines then grabbed their son and threw him into a bedroom.

Gaines continued to push the woman around and wrestle with her on the floor, according to court records. While on the floor, the 4-year-old climbed onto Gaines’ back. Gaines then grabbed the boy and threw him again. Gaines then left the residence and drove away.

The boy told police officers that his father “bonked” him on the nose.

Soon after, Gaines drove his vehicle into a ditch at the intersection of Rose Crossing and Whitefish Stage Road. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper responded to the scene and reported a strong odor of alcohol on Gaines’ breath. Gaines told the officer that he had “way too much to drink” and had assaulted his girlfriend. He also told the officer that he had consumed an entire pint of whiskey and that the bottle was still in the car.

If convicted, Gaines could face up to five years in prison for assault of a minor and a $50,000 fine. He is expected to go to trial in April.