‘Drug Rip’ Killer Charged with Assault with a Weapon near Florence
19 year-old Joshua Paniagua, who stabbed a man to death in self defense during what was termed a ‘drug rip’ in January, was arrested over the weekend and charged with felony assault with a weapon after allegedly attempting to strike his mother with a hammer.
Deputy County Attorney Carrie Garber described what happened at Paniagua’s mother’s home near Florence late Saturday night.
“The state is alleging that this 19 year-old confronted his mother in her house after she heard him using a drill,” began Garber. “The alleged victim found the defendant boarding up all the windows and doors. The defendant told the victim that she was possessed. The alleged victim saw that the defendant had a hammer in his hand and felt very threatened. She tried to leave and call law enforcement. The defendant chased the victim with the hammer saying that he needed to get the demons out of her. She was fortunately able to get away and call law enforcement.”
Garber said the man’s mother claimed this type of incident had happened before.
“This has happened one other time, and occurs when the defendant is using drugs and alcohol,” she said. “In this particular instance I believe that the defendant barricaded himself in the home and had to be removed by the SWAT team.
Previous law enforcement reports indicate that negotiations with Paniagua went on all Saturday night before the SWAT team took him into custody at about 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Garber explained why Paniagua’s bail should remain at $50,000.
“He clearly poses a threat to the community,” she said. “This particular defendant was involved in selling drugs to a young man that attacked him and the defendant stabbed that person and he died. He clearly has a propensity for violence and for criminal activity, and we believe the $50,000 bond is more than reasonable.”
During his appearance via video from the Missoula County Jail, Paniagua refused to answer questions from Judge Alex Beal, only to say that he had no home and no phone number.
If Paniagua posts bail, he is forbidden from contacting his mother or go near her home.
Judge Beal set bail at $50,000 and strongly suggested that Paniagua be evaluated as soon as possible by mental health staff.