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Case of attempted murder, assault, endangerment, terrorizing headed to trial

Kevin Gardner

HETTINGER -- The case against a Dickinson man who allegedly put a gun to a woman's head here last month and pulled the trigger was bound over for trial at the Adams County Courthouse on Thursday.

Kevin R. Gardner, 50, faces four felonies, including a Class A felony for "putting a loaded pistol" to a Hettinger woman's head and "pulling the trigger" at her home last month, according to court documents and testimony.

Gardner remains in custody on a $20,000 bond. In court documents, the woman is listed as Gardner's "family or household member."

In court Thursday, Adams County Sheriff's Office Deputy Shawn Peterson, who responded to the woman's residence following a 911 call the night of Nov. 16, testified that the woman told deputies that Gardner choked her and put a loaded .45 caliber handgun to her head.

Peterson said the woman told deputies that she heard a "click" and that Gardner said that "good spirits" were protecting her. While on the stand, Peterson was asked by Adams County State's Attorney Aaron Roseland if he thought Gardner's alleged comments came as a result of the gun not firing.

"I believe so," Peterson told the court.

The woman was hospitalized following the alleged attack for "choking on the neck and beating her so severely as to cause laceration and bruising on her neck and face," according to the criminal complaint. Peterson testified that the woman was "not breathing" when he arrived on the scene.

The altercation Nov. 16 allegedly was fueled because Gardner blamed the woman for a recent termination at his former job.

Gardner's public defender, Kevin McCabe, requested Gardner be released while awaiting trial, but Judge William Herauf denied the request and another to lower the bond amount.

Gardner did not speak at the hearing. In addition to the attempted murder charge, Gardner faces felony charges for aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and terrorizing and a Class A misdemeanor for menacing. For attempted murder alone, Gardner faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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