BOZEMAN, Mont. – Bail was set at $1 million for a registered sex offender charged with assaulting and trying to rape his former girlfriend in Bozeman and escaping from police custody, leading to a search throughout the western U.S.
Kevin Anthony Briggs, 28, made an initial appearance Tuesday via video in Gallatin County Justice Court on charges of aggravated assault, attempted sexual intercourse without consent, assaulting a peace officer and escape.
Briggs was arrested early on Feb. 1 after his former girlfriend reported she believed he may have drugged her, tried to rape her and strangled her when she resisted. He walked out of the police station after officers left him unattended in an interview room. He was arrested on Feb. 21 in Portland, Ore., and was returned to Bozeman on Monday.
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert requested the $1 million bail.
"This defendant is obviously clever, obviously resourceful," Lambert said. "He presents a great danger to the persons of this community in general, to the alleged victim of this crime in particular and he's an extreme flight risk."
Defense attorney Eric Brewer didn't recommend a bail amount, but he called the $1 million request excessive.
Briggs is charged with trying to rape his former girlfriend, who said she had "passed out" after drinking a smoothie that Briggs made. She told investigators he strangled her when she resisted, causing her to nearly pass out because of a lack of oxygen. The woman had broken blood vessels in her eyes, on her face and in her eardrums. An emergency room physician said the woman could have been killed during the assault, court records said.
After Briggs' escape, he was able to get a ride to Missoula, where investigators determined he bought a bus ticket to Spokane, Wash. He was seen at the Missoula bus station on the morning of Feb. 2. The person who gave Briggs a ride to Missoula told investigators that Briggs planned to travel to Seattle and then south to Mexico before boarding a ship to Russia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Briggs' arrest and reported he had been spotted in the San Francisco area in the week before his arrest in Portland, Ore.
Briggs is required to register as a sex offender after being convicted of kidnapping and rape involving his 14-year-old former girlfriend in Helena in 2003, when he was 16.
The police chief placed two officers on paid leave after an investigation found their actions failed to prevent Briggs' escape.