A man accused of beating up his roommate wants the charge against him dismissed because his roommate’s body was cremated.
James N. Moen of Coeur d’Alene was charged with aggravated battery in January after his motel roommate, Mark Jones, died from a lacerated spleen.
On Friday, Moen’s attorney told Judge Gary Haman that important evidence - the victim’s body - was destroyed before the defense could properly study it.
Moen and Jones had been staying at the State Motel on Sherman Avenue. They got into a fight the afternoon of Jan. 22, according to a Coeur d’Alene Police report.
Jones came out of the motel room holding his rib cage and told the hotel manager that Moen had beat him in the chest with a shotgun.
Jones refused to press charges against his roommate and refused medical treatment for hours. Later that evening, he collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he died.
Moen was arrested on suspicion of murder but the charge was reduced to battery because the victim refused medical aid.
At the Jones family’s request, Jones’ body was cremated after an autopsy was done.
Moen’s attorney, Tim Gresback, argued Friday that the case should be dismissed because an independent autopsy wasn’t done before the body was cremated.
Gresback pointed out that people accused of drunken driving may have their blood independently tested in an attempt to disprove the blood alcohol level shown in the police test.
Kootenai County Prosecutor Traci Post said the lack of a second autopsy does not matter because Moen is not accused of killing Jones - only of battering him.
Moen does not deny fighting, but says he acted in self defense, Gresback said.