After two incidents—one of which occurred in Running Springs—in which he allegedly beat his girlfriend last month, a 45-year-old Colton man has pleaded guilty to a felony charge and is awaiting sentencing.
Court records say James Michael Bidney entered his plea at his Jan. 2 pre-preliminary hearing before Judge Dwight W. Moore, who set sentencing for Jan. 31.
In the meantime, Bidney remains in custody at Central Detention Center in lieu of $200,000 bail.
According to a sheriff’s report, Bidney and his unidentified 50-year-old girlfriend, who had been in a dating relationship for 18 months, were headed down Highway 330 from Running Springs on the evening of Dec. 18 when Bidney’s car spun out on the icy pavement.
Bidney reportedly became angry and struck the woman, hitting her four times on the left knee with his closed fist.
Bidney then drove back up the highway to the home of a friend, deputies said, but the friend was not at home. The friend’s absence apparently set Bidney off again, and he reportedly began fighting with his girlfriend.
During the altercation, Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Ells said, Bidney struck her in the jaw with his fist and shoved her into a wall. A Twin Peaks sheriff’s detective arrested Bidney later in the evening without incident, on Highway 330 near Fredalba Road.
However, it was not for the Dec. 18 incident that Bidney was charged, but for an earlier assault, involving the same woman, that occurred on Dec. 1, said Christopher Lee, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.
Though details of neither assault are listed in the criminal complaint against him, the complaint says Bidney was charged with one count each of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in each case.
After pleading guilty to the one count, court records say the remaining charges will be dismissed when Bidney is sentenced.
The California Penal Code stipulates that violations of Section 273.5, to which Bidney pleaded guilty, are punishable by two, three or four years in state prison or up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $6,000 or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Court records say Bidney was placed on two years’ probation in 1999 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery. In December 2005 he was placed on three years’ probation and sentenced to a year in jail, with 59 days credit for time served, for pleading guilty to felony evading a police officer with wanton disregard for safety.
Bidney is also scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 15 on a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to court records.