A homeless Jackson man is accused of accosting a tourist group, offering to impregnate one of the women in the group, touching her genitalia and then blasting her with bear spray, authorities say.
Mackenzie Cole, Teton County deputy prosecutor, has charged Dana Richard Arnold, 37, with one count of aggravated assault and another count of unlawful contact. The first charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and the second is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
Jackson Circuit Court Judge Curt Haws transferred the case to the felony-level Teton County District Court on Aug. 3.
A woman and three friends were touring the country and visiting Jackson for the first time July 20, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed by Jackson Police Department Cpl. Jason Figueroa.
The four companions arrived at the Home Ranch Visitor Center on Cache Street that evening. There they met a “homeless” man, says the affidavit. They talked with him briefly.
But then he made the woman uncomfortable by saying he wanted to impregnate her, she told police. He also touched her genital area through her clothes, the affidavit claims.
“Get the f*** outta here,” the woman told the man.
The group left the Visitor Center for the Town Square to get away from the man.
The woman struggled for several minutes and decided she needed a moment alone. She walked back to the group’s car, which was still parked at the Visitor Center near the open side alley behind the Jackson Drug Store.
There she saw the same man in the alley sitting near some garbage cans.
“Dyke!” the man allegedly called out, then he approached her.
She raised her hands in a defensive gesture.
He sprayed her with bear spray, the affidavit says. She tried turning her head to escape the fiery blast, but was temporarily blinded.
She fumbled toward her female friend, who guided the woman back to their other traveling companions.
Oh, This Guy
Figueroa and Officer Heidi Schmidl responded to the scene.
The woman described her attacker as a white male in his late 30s standing about 5-foot-9 with short, brown hair, brown eyes and an average build. He was wearing basketball shorts, a black or navy blue shirt, a San Diego hat; he had a blue hiking backpack and rode a black or blue mountain bike.
He’d mentioned to the woman at some point he’d been living in Jackson for the past five summers, the woman told police.
The agents discovered that a security camera points at the site where the homeless man appraoched the group.
Jackson Police Department Detective John Ware reviewed the security footage and “immediately identified the suspect as Dana Richard Arnold,” says the affidavit.
Police and Teton County Sheriff’s deputies have had “numerous” contacts with Arnold since 2020, the document says, including verbal threats toward the public causing distrubrances.
His physical descriptors also matched the woman’s description of him: He’s a white male weighing 160 pounds, standing 5-foot-10, and he’s 37 years old with brown hair and eyes, the affidavit says.
Police officers searched for Arnold.
Sgt. Justin Lancaster found him outside an Albertson’s store wearing the same clothes the woman had described; same hat and backpack, and possessing the same bike, the document says.
Lancaster asked Arnold if he could talk with him.
The affidavit relates that Arnold said his lawyer told him he didn’t have to talk to Lancaster.
Lancaster determined he had probable cause to arrest Arnold and did so. When Teton County jail deputies booked Arnold, they searched his backpack, in which they found a red bear spray canister.
Arnold’s case is ongoing.