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Trooper assault trial moved out of Hubbard County

Elijah Lee Knowles

Calling it a "high profile case for Hubbard County," a district judge ordered the trial of a man accused of assaulting a state trooper moved to Cass County.

Judge John Smith on Friday also imposed a gag order on Elijah Lee Knowles, 26, of Akekley, to prevent further postings about his case on any social media sites.

Last week the Enterprise reported that Knowles found humor at his last court hearing and posted his thoughts on an open Facebook wall.

His public defender, Jennifer Nelson, told Smith she had discussed Internet security with her client and that there would be no further postings.

Knowles was arrested Oct. 22 following a high speed chase, in which he allegedly assaulted a state trooper with her own Taser gun when she tied to cuff him, beating her on the head several times.

Nelson had requested the change of venue because Trooper Darcy Gagnon is a Hubbard County resident, and because a Google search on her client turned up dozens of page views about the incident.

Gagnon required staples to treat the gash on her head from the assault. Knowles is also charged with assaulting two deputies who arrived on the scene as he was allegedly trying to take Gagnon's gun away from her.

He then fled, driving at speeds of 110 mph, trying to ram a squad car, the complaint states.

He was apprehended when his vehicle crashed at Highway 64 and 200th Street.

Knowles faces numerous felony charges in connection with the incident, in which a squad car was also damaged.

"The deputies used Mace and arm bars to secure Knowles in handcuffs," the complaint stated. "As Knowles was being put in a patrol car he kicked one of the officers in the chest."

Knowles pled not guilty to an amended complaint Friday morning in court.

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne had argued against a change in venue, maintaining the number of Web hits the two Enterprise stories got did not taint a potential jury pool with pretrial publicity and that moving the trial would be expensive.

Smith disagreed.

Knowles faces a litany of felonies in connection with the attack on Gagnon, fleeing, DWI and the attempt to disarm Gagnon and shoot her in the head with her own Taser.

The gun's safety was on, the complaint indicated, so the weapon did not fire.

Knowles' trial starts Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. in Walker. Numerous law officers are listed as potential witnesses.

Knowles is out on bond.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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