WALKER -- Misdemeanor domestic assault and disorderly conduct charges have been filed in Cass County District Court against Rusty Lilyquist, 34, Longville, the county's Third District county commissioner.
A June 3 arraignment was postponed to July 1. In a June 2 letter to the court, Lilyquist's attorney Jason D. Pederson of Bemidji stated, "Please be advised that Mr. Lilyquist will be entering a not guilty plea regarding this matter."
"I don't want to try to hide anything. The biggest thing is I don't want somebody to every say I used my political position to get away with something," Lilyquist said in a telephone interview last week.
Cass County Sheriff's Department initial complaint records show Rusty Lilyquist called that office at 1:55 a.m. Jan. 31 from the Anchorage Inn east of Longville to report his wife was missing.
Three minutes later, the sheriff's records show Lilyquist called back to report his wife was home. The court complaint states she walked home.
In a telephone interview last week with Billie Jo Lilyquist, she said this is about a two and a half-mile walk and that she was frostbitten when she arrived home.
At 3:41 a.m., Cass County Sheriff's Department records show officer Scott Thompson, who had responded to the first call, reported Rusty Lilyquist again called him stating "his wife was busting up furniture and they were fighting."
The court complaint indicates officers who responded to the Lilyquist home found "broken glass and observed a bedroom door that had been severely damaged by being forced off of the hinges."
She "became belligerent and out of control and he forced her into her bedroom and held her down on her bed." She "picked up an empty whiskey bottle and threw at him, missing him and striking a glass hutch causing broken glass to be strewn around the room" the court complaint indicates Lilyquist told officers the night it happened.
She "indicated that Lilyqyist slapped her and threw her in her bedroom...that he threw her on the ground, he kicked her, thereby injuring her ribs," the court complaint indicates she told officers that night.
Sheriff's Department records, the court complaint and the Lilyquists agree Thompson took Billie Jo from the couple's home to her friend's house the night this occurred to spend the night.
It is standard procedure for County Attorney Earl Maus to refer any cases involving Cass County employees or officials to another county attorney. Itasca County Attorney John Muhar has been given this case, which Muhar has assigned to his Assistant County Attorney Lori J. Florhaug.
Billie Jo said in her interview she learned of this court assignment May 6 and wrote a letter to Muhar, revising her view of events that night. She provided a copy of the letter to the Dispatch.
She states in the letter she had been on prescription medications, which specifically state no alcohol should be consumed with the medication. She said she had been drinking for two weeks prior to Jan. 31, because of a personal tragedy in her life (the sudden death of a close cousin) and had been drinking for about 12 hours preceding the telephone calls her husband made to law enforcement Jan. 31.
"I was in a state of drunkenness and mental confusion. I punched a hole in our bathroom wall, kicked a hole in the bedroom wall, ran through the bedroom door and fell down many times," the letter states. "I also threw a half-gallon glass whiskey bottle at my husband and missed, smashing our china hutch. The only thing my husband physically did to me that evening was to try and restrain me from hurting him, our home and myself."
She concludes the letter she said she wrote to Muhar, "I will testify in court on my husband's behalf."
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