Judge denies bond reduction for man accused of Twin Falls stabbing
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Judge denies bond reduction for man accused of Twin Falls stabbing

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TWIN FALLS — A judge Tuesday declined to reduce bail for a man who police say stabbed another man in a July fight.

Richard Christopher Samson, 27, is charged with felony aggravated battery and felony possession of a controlled substance.

He appeared with his public defender, George Essma, before Fifth District Judge Benjamin Cluff to enter a plea and consider a motion to reduce his $750,000 bond.

Court documents indicate Samson got into a fight with the victim the evening of July 15. When the victim got back into his car, Samson allegedly reached inside and stabbed him in the chest with a knife.

After Twin Falls Police responded to the Mr. Gas at Falls Avenue and Blue Lakes Boulevard, where the victim had driven, a warrant was issued for Samson. During his arrest, police found six bags of methamphetamine at a house in the 700 block of Northview Drive.

Samson entered a not guilty plea to the charges on Tuesday. His trial is set for Jan. 15.

Samson faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine on the battery charge, with the potential of an enhanced sentence because a knife was used potentially increasing the sentence to 30 years.

The possession charge has a maximum of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

After his client pleaded not guilty, Essma argued Samson’s bond should be reduced. He said Samson is a life-long Magic Valley resident with family members in the area. Samson also serves as caregiver for his ailing grandparents, who he lives with, Essma said.

“Mr. Samson knows the allegation is serious,” Essma said.

Essma asked the bond be reduced to $10,000 since there are no aggravating circumstances.

Twin Falls Deputy Prosecutor Jethelyn Harrington disagreed.

“Stabbing someone in the chest is pretty aggravating,” she said.

She provided Cluff with a list of Samson’s prior offenses and probation violations.

Cluff denied the bond reduction, based on the nature of the charges, Samson’s criminal history and the aggravating circumstances.

As he left the defendant’s table, Samson could be heard saying “bitch” at Harrington, who pointed out the comment to the judge.

Cluff called Samson and Essma back to the defendant’s table, where he issued a stern warning to Samson.

“If you act out in my courtroom again, you’ll face additional contempt of court charges,” Cluff said.

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