Public Safety

Wyoming man charged with assaulting woman on Meskwaki land will remain in jail pending trial

He has previous conviction and police recovered guns, drugs from trailer

CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge Wednesday ordered a Wyoming man, charged with attempting to strangle his wife and illegally having guns while camping at the Meskwaki casino’s RV park in July, to remain in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Mark Roberts said Damon E. Montano, 38, of Laramie, was a risk for non-appearance, citing his lack of family ties to Iowa, unemployment since 2011 and having no stable home — except a camping trailer.

He also said Montano poses a danger to the community based on the “strong weight of the evidence” — domestic violence and his possession of three firearms, which he cannot legally own because of a previous conviction for domestic abuse.

Montano is charged with possession of a firearm by a person with a domestic abuse conviction and assault by strangulation.

FBI Special Agent Michael Kitsmiller testified that other campers on the Meskwaki Settlement told police a woman came to them for help, saying her husband was physically assaulted by Montano. The campers said they had seen the physical injuries on the woman July 22.

The witnesses helped the woman get away from Montano after she was assaulted, the agent said. They took her to the bus station in Marshalltown and she left the state, Kitsmiller said.

The woman told authorities she and Montano were arguing about his child that lived somewhere else then he choked her, Kitsmiller said. He also hit her in the eye and bit her, the woman told police.

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According to court documents, there were photos of the woman with bruises, finger marks on her neck, and cuts and scrapes.

Montano claimed self-defense but had no injuries, Kitsmiller said.

The woman also told police she had been assaulted by Montano in the past. She also said Montano wouldn’t let her work or leave the camper without him, and he would block internet access from her.

Montano’s mother contacted the woman after his arrest and asked her not to pursue charges, the agent said.

When the woman reported the incident to police, she also said Montano had firearms and marijuana in the trailer, Kitsmiller said. During a search, the officers recovered three firearms, ammunition and marijuana.

Kitsmiller said while Montano has been in jail in Tama County, he was involved in a fight with another inmate, who had to get stitches.

The charges were filed in federal court because federal authorities have jurisdiction on Indian tribal lands.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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