Man accused of ambushing ex-wife, daughter and boyfriend pleads not guilty

·2 min read

Aug. 17—A Kalispell man accused of beating his ex-wife, her boyfriend and her daughter after ambushing them at a backyard cook-out in late June has pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the alleged attack.

Jerrad Raymond Merrill, 30, faces one count each of felony aggravated assault, assault on a minor and misdemeanor assault on a partner or family member, first offense in Flathead County District Court. Flanked by his attorney, Daniel Wood, Merrill entered a not guilty plea before Judge Robert Allison at his Aug. 11 arraignment.

Officers with the Kalispell Police Department arrested Merrill after one of his alleged victims flagged them down on June 23 to report the attack. When they found him, driving his pickup on Main Street, he allegedly told officers his ex had a new boyfriend and he "took care of it like a man," according to court documents.

Investigators said his explanation for the alleged attack came unprompted, court documents said.

In court filings, prosecutors allege that Merrill arrived at his ex-wife's property unannounced on the day of the attack, walked through the home and out into the backyard. He allegedly approached his ex-wife's boyfriend, punched him and knocked him down before kicking him in the face.

The other man was later treated for several broken facial bones and "serious bodily injuries," court documents said.

When his ex-wife intervened, he struck her as well, according to court documents. Her daughter, a minor, was tossed aside when she tried to stop the beating, court documents said. Both allegedly suffered bruising.

A neighbor who saw the incident corroborated the victims' version of events, according to court documents.

Merrill initially was held in the Flathead County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond. He posted a commercial bond on July 23 and appeared in court last week in street clothes. According to the conditions of his release, he must avoid alcohol as well as establishments that serve alcohol, refrain from contacting the victims and wear a GPS monitoring device.

Merrill is due back in court on Nov. 16 for a pretrial hearing.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in Montana State Prison for aggravated assault and a maximum fine of $50,000. Assault on a minor carries a maximum punishment of five years in state prison and a $50,000 fine. Misdemeanor partner or family member assault is punishable by between a day and a year in county jail and a fine of between $100 and $1,000.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.