Suspects arraigned in anti-gay attack
Two men accused of attacking an Ashland man after allegedly insulting him for being gay were arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Friday, both pleading not guilty to a second-degree disorderly conduct charge, a misdemeanor.
William James Kelso, 20, and Alejandro Almirall-Nieves, 21, were arrested Wednesday on charges of intimidation, third-degree assault and menacing, but those charges appear to have been dropped, court records show. Both men are due back in court Nov. 5, according to records.
The two men allegedly harassed 44-year-old Christopher Johnson, who told the Tidings Thursday he had been walking home from the gym when the two men and two others on Granite Street allegedly hurled a homophobic slur at him.
Johnson said he initially took the harassment in stride and continued to walk, but when they continued to egg him on, he said, he confronted the group, which led to an assault. Johnson said he was punched, choked and bitten by a dog belonging to Kelso.
Johnson said he received an injury near his eye and had to have a shot and antibiotics as precautionary measures for the dog bite.
A probable cause affidvait mentioned the injury near his eye, described as “a knot on the temple,” but made no mention of the dog bite. Both Kelso and Almirall-Nieves were arrested at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday. On Friday, both men were still listed in the Jackson County Jail on $2,500 bail.
Neither Kelso nor Almirall-Nieves have any previous criminal history in Oregon, records show.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at firstname.lastname@example.org.