Ruchti faces felony charges after domestic incident
WILLMAR -- A 29-year-old Watkins man made his first appearance Friday on two felony charges for allegedly strangling a woman and threatening her life and the life of her child.
Edward Alan Ruchti faces charges in Kandiyohi County District Court of domestic assault by strangulation and terroristic threats, plus a misdemeanor charge for domestic assault. Unconditional bail was set at $30,000 with conditional release at $5,000. He was ordered to have no contact with the woman, her child, home or work, not drive or possess firearms. His next court date is Feb. 17.
According to the complaint, two Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called around 11:35 p.m. Wednesday to where state Highway 23 and U.S. Highway 71 split north of Willmar. A woman there said she and her boyfriend, identified as Ruchti, had an altercation and she was left stranded along the road.
The woman said they had been at several locations in the area that evening, including a Willmar establishment. She also said that Ruchti had been drinking all day and was drunk. She had persuaded him to let her drive the vehicle. They were going to Eagle Lake when he became angry, pulled her hair and choked her with his arm so that she could hardly breathe, all while she was driving.
The woman also said that he threatened to kill her and her child. She said she threw the car keys out of the window, but that he found them, got back in the car, kicked her in the head and left.
According to court records, Ruchti was placed on probation for 18 years in May 2003 on a first-degree assault charge for a March 3, 2002, sexual attack on his wife at their home. Doctors who treated her termed the injuries suffered as life-threatening.
Ruchti received a stay on a 91-month prison sentence and was ordered to serve a year in jail. The sentence, a downward departure from state guidelines, was handed down after the wife signed an affidavit that stated the activities in which she was injured were consensual.