By GARY POPP
NEW ALBANY —
A Harrison County man is being held under a $500,000 bond after being charged with attempted murder in a Floyd County court Wednesday following an incident at a New Albany strip club on Dec. 8.
John J. Arnold IV, 29, of the 4800 block of Seven Springs Road in Elizabeth, is accused of striking — and injuring — three pedestrians with his Ford F-150 pickup truck in the parking lot of the Rustic Frog.
According to a report from the New Albany Police Department, officers responded to a personal injury call at the bar, located at 1720 Old River Road, at 3:10 a.m., where they found three people suffering from injuries.
Those injured were Gregory Robards, 22, of New Albany, and Rebecca Quinn, 43, and Nora Hall, 42, both of Louisville. None of the trio’s injuries were life threatening, according to police records, but have resulted in Arnold additionally being charged with three counts of criminal recklessness and causing serious bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon, all class C felony charges.
Kyle Payne, 32, of New Albany, was the target of the attempted murder, according to police, but he was not injured in the incident.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by New Albany police, Arnold entered the Rustic Frog at 2:24 a.m. He was accompanied by Jeffrey Carpenter, 22, who was identified as Arnold’s cousin by Payne in the police report .
Payne, who was working the door at the bar, told police Arnold “was mad at him at him because he was telling people it was time to leave,” according to the affidavit.
After Payne told Arnold and Carpenter to leave the bar area of the establishment, the two men followed Payne outside, where Payne alleges Arnold approached him and tried to instigate a fight.
“[Payne] told [Arnold] that he was being a drunk idiot and told [Arnold] to go home,” according to the report.
Payne told police as he was telling Arnold to leave, Carpenter approached the pair and began apologizing for Arnold’s behavior. According to the police affidavit, Payne reported that while he was talking with Carpenter, Arnold told him “I’m going to get in my truck and (expletive) kill you.”
Payne then told everyone outside to go into the establishment.
According to the police report, Payne alleges Arnold got into his truck and drove toward the building where he hit Robards and a parked Nissan 350Z.
Robards suffered a fractured knee and a crush injury to the tissue area of a calf that required surgery. Robards was informed he could lose his foot due to circulation complications, according to the police report.
Arnold then put the vehicle into reverse and struck Quinn and Hall.
Hall suffered a wrist fracture, bruised ribs and a ruptured breast implant. Quinn sustained multiple wrist fractures, which will require surgery to insert pins and rods.
According to the police report, Hall’s son, Larry Hall, came out of establishment after hearing the commotion from the parking area and began throwing rocks at Arnold’s pick up truck. Payne told police that Arnold also attempted to run over Larry Hall, but he was able to jump out of the way.
When NAPD officers arrived at the Rustic Frog, Arnold had already left the scene. However, Larry Hall and Payne followed Arnold when he left the bar. They told police they lost track of the vehicle around the intersection of Budd and Craig Cooper roads — about four miles from the Rustic Frog
Police were able to run Arnold’s information and determine he owned a white Ford F-150. Harrison County Sheriff’s Department was contacted and asked if deputies could check Arnold’s address.
Harrison County deputies contacted Floyd County officials at 5:45 a.m. after locating Arnold and his truck at his home.
New Albany police went to Arnold’s home and found his truck with fresh damage on its front end that was consistent with the incident at the Rustic Frog.
Arnold spoke with police and told the officers he had been in New Albany earlier in the morning and dropped off his friends Carpenter and Robards at Wick’s Pizza on State Street. He told police he went home to go to sleep after dropping off his friends.
The officer informed Arnold that his driver’s license had been scanned at the Rustic Frog and his truck had been seen on the property.
“If I was there, I don’t remember,” Arnold told the officer, according to the report.
The officer asked Arnold if he was drunk when he dropped off Carpenter and Gregory earlier in the morning. He told the officer he was.
A portable breath test was administered at his home, which showed Arnold had a blood alcohol content of .13.
The pickup truck was seized for processing, and Arnold was taken to the Floyd County Jail.
During Arnold’s initial hearing Thursday, Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Terrence Cody set Arnold’s bond at $500,000 court-cash, following the bond recommendation made by Floyd County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Steven Owen.
The current bond requires $50,000 to be posted for Arnold’s release.
“I ask the mercy of the court,” Arnold said to Cody, requesting that his bond be lowered and to be placed on house arrest, adding, “I am all my mom has.”
Arnold informed the court that he also needs to be at home because he has animals to care for and that he has never missed a court date.
Cody did not modify the bond, but told Arnold his future representation can request his bond be lowered at a later date.
Cody set a pretrial conference for Jan. 29.
Arnold is currently on probation out of Clark County following a conviction of intimidation while armed with a deadly weapon, to which he pled guilty in 2007.
The 2007 plea included the court’s dismissal of aggravated battery, residential entry and resisting law enforcement.
Following the hearing, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said officers are continuing to investigate what transpired during the incident at the Rustic Frog and that additional charges could be issued.
“I think it is a solid case. It is an egregious case,” Henderson said. “It is a horrific act that we intend on proving and holding Mr. Arnold accountable for his actions that evening.”
Henderson explained that the alleged verbal threat made by Arnold to kill Payne and driving toward Payne in an attempt to strike him is the basis for the attempted murder.
He said it appears that in the process of attempting to strike Payne with his vehicle, he committed the three counts of criminal recklessness.
Henderson said the $500,000 bond fits the crimes Arnold allegedly committed.
“We asked for that bond, and we believe it is an appropriate bond considering the heinous act that was involved,” he said.
If Arnold is found guilty of the four felony charges he is facing, he could be sentenced to 74 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.