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Man bound over for trial in forest attack case

Staff Writer | May 5, 2021 1:00 AM

HAYDEN — The case of a Washington man accused of taking his girlfriend into the woods, choking her and then abandoning her in the middle of the night has been referred to the district court for trial.

Jerald D. Elliott, 38, of Chattaroy, Wash., is charged with attempted strangulation, a felony. Prosecutors also filed a persistent violator enhancement.

Police responded around 12:30 a.m. April 13 to a report of a domestic dispute in the woods off Forest Service Road 206, near milepost 11.

At the scene, a woman told police that she and Elliott, who she identified as her boyfriend, had come to Idaho to see the Panhandle National Forests.

While driving back down the mountain, she said Elliott became enraged, screamed at her and backhanded her in the face multiple times. He then allegedly stopped the vehicle and told the woman to get out.

The woman said she begged Elliott not to leave her, but he pushed her out of the truck. She said she jumped in the truck bed and Elliott began driving erratically in an effort to scare her.

Elliott stopped the truck again, she said, and then climbed into the bed, where he allegedly held her down and choked her.

The woman said she lost consciousness.

Though she reportedly had a firearm in her purse, she told police she couldn’t bring herself to use it against Elliott.

The woman testified in a preliminary hearing last week that she fired a warning shot into the air while the pair were struggling in the truck bed.

She told police she was able to get back inside the truck and slipped Elliott’s cellphone into her purse.

Before removing the woman from the vehicle again, Elliott allegedly said, “I don’t care if the coyotes eat you.”

He then allegedly pushed her against the truck and choked her again before flinging her purse and its contents into the road.

The woman said she hid until Elliott left, then used his cellphone to contact police.

Police documented bruises on the woman’s neck, arms and legs.

Around 2:30 a.m. on April 14, police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at the English Point trailhead and detained the driver, identified as Elliott.

Elliott told police his girlfriend had pulled a gun on him and attempted to shoot him while they were in the woods, causing him to drive away without her.

According to police reports, he said he had been drinking the night of the altercation.

Police arrested Elliott, who later posted $30,000 bail.

Elliott has two prior felony convictions out of Spokane County, according to court documents. He was convicted of theft in 2001 and of violating a no-contact order in 2015.

In Idaho, a third felony conviction is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of life.

Elliott is next expected to appear in court in late May.