Pe Ell Man Charged With Assault After Teen Injured in Altercation

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A Pe Ell man has been charged with second-degree assault, domestic violence, for allegedly injuring a child while trying to stop the teen from hitting him. 

The 14-year-old victim reported that Joel Fredrick Kissner had assaulted him on Feb. 21 after he failed to clean Kissner’s semi-truck “well enough,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in Lewis County Superior Court. 

The victim stated that Kissner “threw him to the ground, and then got on top of him and struck him with his hat.” 

The altercation then moved to the bedroom, where Kissner allegedly grabbed the victim in a chokehold. 

“(The victim) said he could not breathe and tried to cough, but could not because of the pressure on his neck,” according to court documents.  

As the altercation continued, Kissner allegedly put his foot on the victim’s neck “while he was on the ground to hold him down.” The victim eventually got away and ran into the bathroom and locked the door, and a sibling called their mother, who reported the incident to police the next day. 

Responding deputies noted photographs of the victim’s injuries taken the day of the incident that show bruising around his neck, forehead, nose, chest and back.

Kissner recounted a different version of events, stating that he had the victim in a “bear hug” to prevent the victim from hitting him, holding his right arm around the victim’s and holding the victim’s back to his chest. He stated that he did at one point put his knee on the victim’s back to hold him on the ground in order to prevent the victim from hitting him. 

“I don’t think the whole picture is here in the probable cause,” said defense attorney Rachael Tiller at Kissner’s preliminary hearing on Feb. 23. 

The victim reportedly had a deal with Kissner to regularly clean his vehicle for $100 per cleaning, and Kissner had refused to pay because the victim hadn’t completed the task. Because of this, Tiller said, the victim punched Kissner, and Kissner pulled him into a “bear hug” to prevent further injury. 

“He does not want to be punched anymore. He does not want to be assaulted,” said Tiller, who commented that the victim’s actions resembled a “tantrum.” 

The victim reportedly continued to struggle within Kissner’s hold, and at one point, the pair fell to the ground, which Tiller said may have caused the bruising documented by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies. 

“I don’t know if you would get bruises on your back and your forehead by falling to the ground,” Judge Joely A. O’Rourke said. 

O’Rourke set bail at $10,000 unrestricted, meaning that Kissner will be released and does not have to pay the bail amount unless he misses a court date, at which time he will be liable to the full bail amount. She issued a no-contact protection order for the victim. 

“I would impose higher bail if there was no request for a no-contact order and if I did not believe the defendant would follow that,” O’Rourke said. 

Kissner has an arraignment hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. on March 4. 

 

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