A 31-year-old man on Wednesday denied allegations that he took his wife from a Kennewick parking lot after breaking her car windows and grabbing her by the hair.
Paul D. Gross entered an innocent plea during his brief appearance in Benton County Superior Court.
He faces a May 4 trial on charges of unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault. Both felony charges include allegations of domestic violence.
Gross allegedly tracked down his wife, Samantha K. Noethe, outside the WinCo grocery store March 5 after she had failed to return to their Walla Walla home for a couple of days.
Noethe, 22, reportedly was driving her husband’s black BMW.
Gross located his wife at 6:45 a.m. and stopped his vehicle in front of the BMW, which was backed up to the side of the grocery store.
Noethe tried to escape when she saw her husband arrive by driving the BMW into Gross’ vehicle and other nearby cars, but she eventually stopped after striking the side of the store, court documents said.
Gross approached the driver’s side, punched out the window glass and grabbed Noethe’s hair to get her to stop, documents said. He also allegedly broke the passenger side window.
The incident was caught on WinCo’s security cameras, and was reported to Kennewick police by a store employee who witnessed it.
Police described it as an abduction, saying Noethe didn’t go willingly with her husband after the “violent encounter.”
However, Gross was not charged with kidnapping. Deputy Prosecutor Brendan Siefken wrote in court documents that Gross and Noethe “eventually left (WinCo) together in a different vehicle.”
Noethe was found safe with Gross the morning of March 6 at the Kennewick Suites hotel on North Johnson Street. He was arrested for allegedly holding his wife against her will.
Noethe suffered bruises and cuts from crashing her car.
Investigators had searched at least two homes and seized one car in their efforts to find the couple. Friends and relatives reportedly led police to the hotel.
The couple have two children.
Gross told investigators he’d been looking for Noethe for a couple of days after she took his car, court documents said. He admitted purposely blocking in the BMW outside the store, documents said.
Gross is in the Benton County jail. The judge ordered his bail to remain at $20,000.