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June 2, 2005

Man accused of punching deaf teen

From: Billings Gazette, MT - Jun 2, 2005

Associated Press

MISSOULA - A transient is jailed on $5,000 bail for allegedly punching a deaf 13-year-old boy and stealing $5 the boy had just panhandled from a passing motorist.

John Locke, 34, appeared before Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech on a felony robbery charge.

Court records said Missoula police responded to a call Saturday of a juvenile panhandling near an Interstate 90 off-ramp.

When officers arrived, the boy had left, but his mother reported that her son had been assaulted by the defendant.

The boy told officers he saw the defendant and a companion soliciting money from drivers at the interchange and decided to do the same.

Shortly after a driver gave the boy $5, the defendant punched him in the stomach and lower back and took the $5 bill out of his pocket, officers said.

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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