Man faces assault count in sledgehammer attack

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— A Steamboat Springs man originally arrested on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder now faces a charge of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputy District Attorney Charles Feldmann said the difference in the two charges involves whether Adam Cumbie intended to kill Andrew Wilson earlier this month when he allegedly hit him in the back of the head with the blunt end of a sledgehammer or hatchet.

"I didn't feel the evidence supported an intent to kill charge," Feldmann said.

In addition to the assault count, Cumbie is charged with using a deadly weapon in a violent crime, third-degree assault for allegedly biting his fiancee, Melinda Wilding, and criminal attempt for throwing a piece of wood at her.

Cumbie, 28, was arrested April 1 after an emergency room doctor told police that Wilson was treated for an injury consistent with a blow to the head.

Feldmann said in court Wednesday that the doctor told investigators that if Wilson had been hit with full force, he could have been killed.

Cumbie's attorney, Norm Townsend, said his client took Wilson to the hospital and brought him home. Townsend said neither Wilson nor Wilding called police and Cumbie has made no threats against them.

"This was just a dispute between friends that's been blown out of proportion," Townsend said.

The two men allegedly got into several fights with each other on March 31 at a Deer Creek condominium that Wilding and Cumbie are renting.

Wilding told police that she, Cumbie and Wilson had gone to a memorial service and had come back to the condominium. Wilson told police Cumbie was intoxicated.

Wilding said the men got into an argument which turned physical and caused Wilson to get a bloody nose. She broke up that fight, but they started again. She stopped the second fight and said Cumbie went out on the deck to cut firewood.

Wilding told police Cumbie then got mad at her and threw a piece of wood at her, hitting the wall inside the apartment.

Wilson then allegedly got mad at Cumbie for almost hurting Wilding and went outside.

Wilding said she heard noises as they fought on the deck and went outside and saw Cumbie on top of Wilson, pinning him by the neck. She tried to stop Cumbie and he bit her on the forearm, she said. She told police Cumbie kicked her and knocked her against the wall.

It is still unclear what Wilson was hit with. Wilson claims it was sledgehammer. Wilding told police she didn't see a sledgehammer and she didn't see either man hit the other.

Police collected a small metallic sledgehammer from the residence, as well as a small wooden hatchet with a metal head. Investigators also took a bloody paper towel from the coffee table.

Wilson was released from Yampa Valley Medical Center the night of March 31.

Cumbie was arrested the next morning after police Sgt. Jason Patrick chased him on foot from Chinook Lane across a field to the Comfort Inn.

That same day, police arrested Wilding on suspicion of being an accessory to a crime. Police Detective Bob DelValle stated in court documents that Wilding, 32, delayed Cumbie's arrest because she told police he wasn't there.

Police said Cumbie admitted he had been inside the condominium when officers asked for him and indicated his fiancee denied it because she didn't want him to be arrested.

"He further admitted that Wilding knew he (Cumbie) was in the home when the police asked for consent to search the home," DelValle stated in a court document.

Wilding posted a $2,000 bond on the accessory charge and was released from jail.

Cumbie said he probably won't be able to make his $20,000 bond. Townsend asked for a reduction in the bond, but Routt County Judge James Garrecht denied that request on Wednesday.

A restraining order placed earlier on Cumbie prevented him from having contact with Wilson and Wilding, but Garrecht modified it to allow Wilding to visit Cumbie in jail.

If he is released from jail, the restraining order prevents Cumbie from going to the Deer Creek condominium he and Wilding share.

Wilding has a May 9 court date. Cumbie is scheduled to appear in court May 3 for a review hearing.

Feldmann said Cumbie faces a minimum of four years in prison if convicted of the assault charge.


-- To reach Michelle Bales call 871-4208 or e-mail mbales@amigo.net

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