Charges filed in assault, robberyA Duluth man accused of punching an 84-year-old woman in the face and robbing her Sunday morning remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail on $100,000 cash bail.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A Duluth man accused of punching an 84-year-old woman in the face and robbing her Sunday morning remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail on $100,000 cash bail.
Jeffrey Scott Montana, 47, faces six felony counts — robbery with use of force, aggravated battery-elderly person, attempting to flee or elude a traffic officer, operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and two counts of burglary as a party to a crime. The charges were filed following an initial hearing Thursday in Douglas County Circuit Court. Cash bail, which was set at a Tuesday hearing, remained at $100,000.
Montana is accused of knocking on the octogenarian’s door at Phoenix Villa Apartments at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, then punching her in the face when she answered, stealing her money and rifling through her wallet before fleeing.
“He popped her right in the chin,” Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank said after Tuesday’s hearing. She was bruised and at least one of her teeth was loosened by the blow, according to the criminal complaint, but nothing was broken.
It appeared to be random crime of opportunity, the district attorney said.
According to the criminal complaint: Video surveillance showed Montana trying another exterior door at the senior living facility, driving what appeared to be a Lumina car and entering the Phoenix Villa building the morning of the robbery. The victim told police Montana “cold-cocked” her in the jaw when she answered the door. He was very calm during the incident and told her he was on the run. She was unable to get up when Montana left, so she used her life alert to call for help. It was later found that all her phone handsets were missing from the apartment.
A tip from a passerby helped Superior police capture Montana Monday, when someone noticed a car that matched the description of the suspect vehicle. When Superior Police Officer Jon McKinnon attempted to stop the vehicle Montana fled at a high speed, smashing into two vehicles and the TLK Industries building, 902 Ogden Ave. The vehicle was later determined to have been stolen out of Duluth.
Items found in the vehicle were linked to a Saturday residential burglary in the same neighborhood.
Paperwork with the name of Jeffery Montana on it was found at the scene of another burglary that occurred in Superior on Saturday.
The fact the case involves manhandling of a senior aggravates things.
“I don’t like 84-year-old people getting hit,” Blank said. “I don’t like anyone getting hit and this poor lady answers the door ... in the morning and that’s what happens.”
The victim’s son, Bill Raunio, said Thursday he was pleased with the high cash bail; he was at a loss to understand why the suspect would hit his mother, who is only 5-foot-1, instead of just asking her to go sit down.
Raunio also credited his mother’s Life Alert alarm with saving her. He said his mother is recovering and has received a lot of support from the other residents of Phoenix Villa.
A preliminary hearing for Montana is set for Wednesday.