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Rutherford waives preliminary hearing in church youth group incident

PHILLIPS, WI (WTAQ) - A Waukesha County man accused of threatening a church youth group in northern Wisconsin is due back in court August 15th for pre-trial matters.

28-year-old Jesse Rutherford of Big Bend has waived the state’s time limit for a preliminary hearing.

He faces 8 criminal charges in Price County, after he allegedly approached a group of young people with a gun, told them to get on their knees, and help get his truck out of a nearby ditch.

It happened May 18th while the group was camping in a yard south of Phillips. Circuit Judge Patrick Fox is reviewing video of the incident.

Rutherford has asked the judge not to let a jury hear statements he made to police, and the results of a search of his vehicle. He’s free after posting a $5,000 cash bond.

Rutherford’s charges include three felonies of false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, and narcotics possession. The misdemeanors are for operating a gun while intoxicated, third-time drunk driving, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with a revoked license, and disorderly conduct.

Rutherford was also given traffic tickets for not taking a sobriety test after his arrest, and violating a license restriction.