Judge sets $50K bail in battery case

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SANDPOINT — Bond was set at $50,000 Wednesday for a young Bonner County woman accused of perpetrating a baseball bat attack on a teen at City Beach earlier this month.

“The significance and nature of the charge,” Judge Lori Meulenberg said, “does raise some red flags.”

Caitlyn Grace Haskins made her initial appearance in Bonner County Magistrate Court via videoconferencing with the Bonner County Jail. Haskins’ parents attended the hearing, as did the mother of the alleged victim, 16.

Meulenberg advised Haskins, 18, of her rights and appointed a public defender to represent her. A preliminary hearing, in which a judge determines if there sufficient evidence to warrant a trial in 1st District Court is set for July 17.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Edburg recommended that Haskins’ $50,000 not be disturbed.

“The nature of this crime is incredibly egregious,” Edburg said.

Bonner County Deputy Public Defender Donald Terry recommended a low bond or an own-recognizance release.

Meulenberg, who set bail when she issued a warrant for her arrest, noted that Haskins has no prior criminal history. However, she sustained the sum due to the troubling allegations in a Sandpoint Police probable cause affidavit of the July 2 incident.

Meulenberg also entered an order forbidding Haskins from having any form of contact with the alleged victim.

The teen told Sandpoint Police said Haskins and a 17-year-old girl, whose name is redacted in court records, approached as she exited her vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit. The teen said the 17-year-old struck her in the face and threw her to the ground. While down and in a vulnerable state, Haskins was seen striking her in the head with the baseball bat, the affidavit said. A witness who was with the teen corroborated her account of the attack, according to the affidavit.

Haskins was interviewed on July 5 and told police she struck the teen in the face and did not wield a bat during the altercation, the affidavit said.

The case is already being litigated on social media and in the parking lot of the Bonner County Courthouse, where Haskin’s mother, Brandy, defended her daughter and insisted she was only breaking up a fight between the teen and the 17-year-old.

“She didn’t do it. Caitlyn’s innocent,” a tearful Brandy Haskins said.

Meanwhile, supporters and foes of Haskins are circulating a screenshot of a profanity-laced Snapchat message in which the 17-year-old suspect admits beating up the teen after confronting her about sending messages to her boyfriend. Supporters contend the admission exonerates Haskins of wrongdoing in the incident.

The 17-year-old is reportedly charged with misdemeanor battery, although the case is being adjudicated behind closed doors because she is a minor.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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