Basin man charged with attempted murder in bar fight

2012-02-29T16:15:00Z 2012-03-01T00:12:32Z Basin man charged with attempted murder in bar fightBy MARTIN KIDSTON mkidston@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A man accused of pulling a knife and stabbing another man in a bar fight in Shell last month appeared for his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Basin Circuit Court.

Raymond Tatom, 41, stood before Circuit Court Judge Thomas Harrington on charges of attempted second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

After a day’s worth of testimony from witnesses, Harrington found probable cause to send Tatom’s case to District Court.

He’s being held in the Big Horn County detention facility on a $1 million cash bond.

Tatom is accused of stabbing 61-year-old Timmothy Mills at the Antler Inn bar on the night of Jan. 17.

Deputies with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department responded that night to a 911 call stating that a man had been stabbed with a knife.

Elizabeth Wolfson, who witnessed the fight, told investigators that Tatom had made derogatory comments to Mills about his family. The argument continued until Mills invited Tatom to step outside if the derogatory comments continued.

“She then heard Tatom state that Mills did not want to fight with him because he would kill him with two blows,” a court affidavit reads.

Wolfson went outside with Mills in an attempt to calm him down and get him to go home. But Mills went back into the bar and the two men began to argue again, the affidavit says.

The exchange of words escalated into a fistfight. Both individuals ended up on the floor, with Mills above Tatom. Mills was hitting Tatum in the face, Wolfson said, and Tatom had his hands on Mills’ neck.

Wolfson said she then saw a black knife in Tatom’s right hand. She yelled “knife” and watched as Tatom brought the knife to Mills’ neck.

When patrons broke up the fight, Mills said he had been stabbed in the gut. An EMT on scene applied pressure to the wound and began first aid. Wolfson saw Tatom leave the establishment, and it appeared to her that his face was beginning to swell.

Mills was taken to Washakie Medical Center and treated by Dr. Ryan Clifford. The doctor reported that Mills had suffered an abrasion to his right eye and a 2-centimeter laceration to the left side of his neck.

Mills also suffered a 5- to 10-centimeter laceration to the left side of his abdomen. Part of his intestine was protruding from the wound, Clifford said.

No date has been set for Tatom’s appearance in District Court.

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