By Margie Wuebker
A Montezuma man remains incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail following an altercation and discharge of a weapon at an area bar early Wednesday morning.
Dale Godwin, 43, 6339 state Route 703, faces charges of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and improper handling of a firearm, a fourth-degree felony.
Godwin, who is being held on a $350,000 bond, appeared Wednesday afternoon in Celina Municipal Court. A preliminary hearing will be held Nov. 3 to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to present the case to a Mercer County grand jury.
Mercer County Sheriff's deputies responded to Buck's Tavern in Montezuma at 2:36 a.m. on reports of an altercation and the discharge of a firearm.
Godwin reportedly had been involved in an earlier altercation, but left the establishment. Another disagreement ensued upon his return. A caller to 911 reported Godwin had grabbed another patron around the neck, issued threats and then pulled a handgun. The continuing investigation is expected to determine whether the gun accidentally discharged or whether it was fired at the unidentified man.
"We have not determined whether he left to get the gun or whether he had it with him all along," Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard.
Godwin left the tavern before deputies arrived, but was apprehended a short time later at his home. Information obtained during the investigation led to the application and issuance of a search warrant.
Authorities located a Cobra .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun in a freezer. Two marijuana seedlings, approximately 6 to 8 inches tall, were found growing in buckets in his bedroom.
Godwin was booked into the jail on an initial charge of having a weapon while intoxicated, a first-degree misdemeanor. More serious charges were filed after a case review by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.
Each felonious assault charge carries the possibility of eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine upon conviction. The weapons charge could add another 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.