A 34-year-old man faces criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a woman at a Brainerd hotel to the point where she feared for her life.
Justin Eldon Knotts of Brumley, Missouri, made his first appearance Oct. 2 in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd where he was charged with two felonies, stalking and domestic assault by strangulation, as well as misdemeanor domestic assault with intent to cause bodily harm.
A $20,000 bond with conditions was ordered by the judge. Knotts posted bail and was released from jail. Conditions include he may not make contact with the victim and must make all future court appearances, maintain contact with his attorney, not possess alcohol, drugs or firearms and not enter into any bars or liquor stores.
Knotts next court hearing is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16.
According to the statement of probable cause filed against Knotts, Brainerd police were called at 11:10 p.m. Sept. 30 to a domestic disturbance at the Quality Inn and Suites and Econolodge off South Sixth Street in Brainerd. While en route, Crow Wing County Dispatch stated a man and a woman were arguing on the north side of the parking lot near a silver Ford Escape.
An officer made contact with the woman, who appeared to be distraught and was crying. She had a large area of redness and swelling spanning from underneath her ears, along her neck and chin, down her chest and right to the line of her shirt. The officer also noticed there was blood on her lower cheek, as well as somewhat dried and recent blood around the right nostril.
The woman stated she and Knotts had recently driven 17 hours from Missouri to Brainerd and were staying in the hotel for a week. She stated the altercation began when she was in bed, attempting to go to sleep for the night. She stated Knotts began talking about her past relationships and began calling her derogatory words. She stated Knotts struck her on the top and right side of her head seven to eight times and then got on top of her, straddling her and attempted to pull her hair while strangling her with one of his hands, the complaint stated. The woman stated she felt scared and fearful and believed Knotts was trying to kill her.
After a time the woman was able to get out of the hotel room and into the parking lot, where she shouted for help several times very loudly. The woman stated she believed she would be assaulted further if she did not get somebody's attention.
Two separate hotel guests who reported they were not familiar with Knotts or the woman stated they heard a woman screaming for help and observed Knotts and the woman in the hotel parking lot. Both witnesses observed Knotts strike her in the face. One of the witnesses observed Knotts pinning her up against a building and place his hands on or near her neck. Both witnesses observed the woman trying to run away from Knotts, and one witness specifically stated it appeared Knotts was trying to keep her from getting away from him.
The victim said she had been physically assaulted by Knotts in the past. A criminal history shows that Knotts was arrested in October 2015 for the offense of misdemeanor domestic assault by the Crocker, Missouri, Police Department and arrested again in August 2017 for felony second-degree domestic assault by the Miller County-Tuscumbia, Missouri, Police Department. The criminal history does not indicate whether criminal complaints were filed in either matter, the complaint stated.