An Arizona man accused of assaulting a woman and brandishing a taser during a baby shower in Cache Valley made his initial court appearance on Monday.
Eli Thomas McClain, 31, has been charged with 13 felonies: first-degree aggravated kidnapping, second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, four counts of third-degree aggravated assault, five counts of third-degree domestic violence in the presence of a child, and third-degree possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the 1st District Court, McClain had arrived in Logan from Arizona to attend a baby shower and barbecue. During the barbecue on July 18, police wrote McClain and a woman entered a trailer and, shortly thereafter, witnesses “heard commotion coming from the trailer and a body slam against a window.” The alleged victim told police McClain punched her, strangled her and pointed a taser at her head after she tried to leave the trailer.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard told the court McClain “pistol whipped” the alleged victim, who also lost consciousness as a result of the strangulation.
After hearing the commotion, witnesses entered the trailer, observed McClain in possession of the taser and attempted to get him to come out. Police wrote McClain pointed the taser at witnesses and told them to “back up.” After everyone exited the trailer, one witness — unsure if McClain possessed a taser or a firearm — turned his back to McClain and began walking towards a house. Police wrote McClain then shot the man in the back with the taser.
A neighbor armed with a bat heard the commotion and confronted McClain. The neighbor told police McClain pointed the taser at him and ultimately shot him with the weapon; he struck McClain several times in the head and face with the bat in response to being tased, police wrote.
When police arrived, according to the affidavit, the group was fighting and an officer observed a woman with a “short bat” swinging at a man on the ground. Two males were holding McClain, police wrote, and several people began shouting that he was “the bad guy.” McClain told police he had been attacked by the neighbor and, as a result, deployed his taser; Mclain had redness on his face and head in addition to a chipped tooth.
Police wrote the alleged female victim was transported to a local hospital for injuries consistent with strangulation. Five children were present during the incident, according to police.
During McClain’s hearing, Hazard requested McClain be held without bail due to concern he would abscond. Hazard said McClain had no ties to the area and had spoken to family members via phone from the Cache County Jail about leaving the jurisdiction by plane if released.
McClain told the court the phone call in question was about driving his trailer back to Arizona. If he were to be released, McClain said he would fly back to Arizona with the intention of attending every court date in the 1st District. McClain said he has never missed a court date and would never abscond.
“I wish the prosecutor would have been more elaborate,” McClain said.
Defense attorney Joseph Rupp argued that McClain was prepared to remain in Cache Valley if required to do so by the court. He said his client had a fifth-wheel trailer located on property in the area. Rupp told the court the incident involved “copious amounts of alcohol” and was not indicative of who McClain is as a person.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck ordered McClain be held in the Cache County Jail without bail.
McClain’s next court appearance is slated for July 27.