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Hazen man's terrorizing, restraint case headed to trial

Hazen man's terrorizing, restraint case headed to trial

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An 80-year-old Hazen man accused of pointing a gun at several people has pleaded not guilty to 17 felonies and two misdemeanors stemming from the April incident in the town, according to Mercer County State’s Attorney Jessica Binder.

James Higginbotham on April 4 allegedly entered the home of his stepdaughter and pointed a gun at adults and juveniles. He would not allow people to leave and at times threatened to kill himself and others, according to a police affidavit. He demanded to see the stepdaughter's mother, even though an order prohibiting him from contacting her had been in place since January, according to the affidavit.

A man in the home was able to get the weapon after Higginbotham sat at the kitchen table, authorities say. Higginbotham then allegedly led police through town on a chase nearing 90 mph in 35 mph zones. Authorities say he rammed two patrol cars when he left the house and another when police boxed him in to end the chase.

South Central District Judge John Grinsteiner on Wednesday moved the case to trial after hearing testimony from Sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Taylor, Binder said. No trial date is listed in court documents. Higginbotham is charged with seven counts of terrorizing, six counts of felonious restraint, three counts of reckless endangerment, fleeing a police officer, and two misdemeanors. 

Justin Balzer, the attorney representing Higginbotham, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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