(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that items were missing from a woman’s car on May 14. She maintains they were not stolen.)
A Friday Harbor man charged with multiple felonies has a trial in San Juan County Superior Court set for Sept. 4. On May 11, James Allen Batchelder II, 43, was charged with the felony of assault in the third degree as well as the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct.
Days after being released from jail on assault charges, Batchelder was picked up for allegedly stealing a car and entering another vehicle without permission.
On May 15, he was charged with the felony of taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree as well as the gross misdemeanor of vehicle prowling in the second degree. At his May 18 arraignment, Batchelder pleaded not guilty to all charges and is currently in custody on $500 bail. Each felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Two sets of charges
According to court documents, on May 8, a caller asked deputies to check on a man who was “hitting an SUV with his shoe, drunk and yelling in the alley behind Haley’s.” When a deputy stepped out of his vehicle to approach this man, the deputy reported that “Batchelder walked briskly towards me and, using both hands, forcefully shoved the driver’s door onto my left leg, striking my knee and causing temporary pain.”
On May 13, a man reported that his vehicle was moved from Argyle Avenue to the Sandpiper Apartments on Tucker Avenue. The car owner told deputies he left the vehicle unlocked with the keys in the center console. When the deputy investigated the car on Tucker Avenue, he found court documents with Batchelder’s name on them, keys on the passenger seat, a black sweatshirt, a black jacket and boots. The deputy recalled seeing those clothes on Batchelder during an earlier interaction. A witness also allegedly saw Batchelder in the driver’s seat of the car and had a Facebook photo to back up the claim.
On May 14, a woman reported a man was in the driver’s side of her vehicle, which she left unlocked. Court documents stated the items were allegedly missing. The woman told the Journal items were removed from the side pocket of the passenger side door and placed on the seat, but were not stolen.