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June 2, 2005

Deaf boy allegedly assaulted by transient over $5 handout

From: The Missoulian, MT - Jun 2, 2005

Deaf boy allegedly assaulted by transient over $5 handout

By COLIN McDONALD of the Missoulian

A transient is being held in the Missoula County jail on $5,000 bail for allegedly punching a deaf 13-year-old boy and then stealing $5 from him.

John Locke, 34, appeared last weekend before Judge Karen Orzech, where his bail was set. He is charged with robbery, a felony.

According to an affidavit filed by prosecutors, Missoula police responded to a call Saturday of a juvenile panhandling for money near the Interstate 90 off-ramp at Van Buren Street.

"There was a juvenile in the area but he left," the affidavit states. "Shortly after that, his mother approached officers and stated her son was deaf and had been assaulted by the defendant. Through his mother, the juvenile, age 13, stated he saw the defendant and his companion soliciting money from drivers at the interchange and thought he would do the same thing.

"He had been there only a brief time when a driver stopped and gave him $5. Immediately after that, defendant came up to him, punched him in the stomach with his left fist, and then punched him in the lower back with his right fist.

"Defendant then reached into his pocket and took the $5 he had just been given."

Police arrested Locke, and both he and the boy were warned that soliciting from a public right of way is illegal in Montana.

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