Police, Fire, Courts

November 2, 2012

Man faces four charges after alleged attack

LEWIS — A Lewis man has been charged with attacking a hunter in the woods here.

Daniel Koechel, 48, is in Essex County Jail after being taken into custody by Essex County Sheriff’s Department deputies Sunday, Oct. 21, on charges that he assaulted Christine Lewis, 28, of Keeseville.

Lewis said she and her father, Clifford, were hunting that day on private property that they have permission to use.

She was in a hunting blind in one area, and her father had gone off to another section of the woods.

From inside the tent, she saw a man — Koechel — walking around in the woods and then coming toward her. She stepped out of the tent, holding her loaded rifle.

Lewis said Koechel was shouting, “Where are my plants? Where are my plants?”

He allegedly was screaming and stabbed the tent seven times.

“I punched him in the face,” she said, noting that she could have shot him but didn’t.

She radioed her father, who came to the site.

Koechel is charged with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, both felonies, and second-degree harassment and second-degree menacing, both misdemeanors.

Essex County District Attorney Kristi Sprague said a felony hearing was held following Koechel’s arrest, and the case is now awaiting grand-jury action.

“Once that matter is presented and if an indictment is secured, then a court date will be set,” she said in an email.

Bail was set at $20,000 cash and $40,000 bond.

Lewis said she is recovering from a broken hand suffered when she punched Koechel.

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