Man accused of spitting at officers bound over for trial
Cory J. Volkening facing 2 felonies, 7 misdemeanors
BY KEVIN BONESKE
A 32-year-old Stevens Point man accused of kicking in a door at a residence on Crescent Street in Rhinelander before having a physical altercation with law enforcement officers, two of whom he allegedly spit at, has been bound over for trial in Oneida County Circuit Court.
Cory J. Volkening appeared Thursday for a preliminary hearing on two felony counts of throwing or discharging bodily fluid at a public safety worker. Those Class I felonies each carry a possible maximum sentence upon conviction of 18 months of initial confinement in prison, followed by two years of extended supervision, and/or a $10,000 fine.
Volkening also faces seven misdemeanor charges, which include battery, criminal damage to property, bail jumping and two counts each of disorderly conduct and resisting or obstructing an officer.
Rhinelander police officer Christie Kondzela, who responded to the report of Volkening allegedly kicking in the door early in the evening of July 18, was the only witness Oneida County assistant district attorney Mary M. Sowinski called to testify.
Kondzela, whose police report noted “significant damage” to the door from being forced open and a woman having “minor scratches” on her hand after being flipped off a chair by Volkening, testified about apprehending Volkening, who was spotted by officers in a wooded area behind the residence.
Kondzela testified about confronting Volkening as he exited the woods. She said he wouldn’t stop and get on the ground when directed to do so several times and, after being unable to physically control him, she pulled out her Taser, but didn’t use it after Sgt. Jacob Simkins arrived and the two were able to get Volkening to the ground.
After handcuffing Volkening and attempting to walk him toward the squad car, Kondzela said Volkening began to resist again and Oneida County sheriff’s deputy Chris Coniglio arrived to assist.
Kondzela’s testimony about Volkening allegedly spitting at Simkins and Coniglio was challenged by Volkening’s attorney, John E. Voorhees, who questioned whether his client may have been spitting out grass that was in his mouth instead of saliva at an officer.
“How can you tell the difference between just spitting out the grass or spitting at officer Simkins?” Voorhees asked.
Voorhees sought the dismissal of the felony charges and argued his client was spitting out grass after having “his face smashed into the grass” by the officers who apprehended him.
However, Judge Michael H. Bloom denied the motion to dismiss and found probable cause of the alleged felony offenses being committed, noting that Kondzela testified about Volkening turning his head toward one of the officers before he spit.
“So his head was in a position that whatever was in his mouth was going toward the officer,” Bloom said. “Under those circumstances, it’s reasonable to infer that he was directing that toward the officer. Now what had come out of his mouth? One inference from the evidence is that grass was inside the defendant’s mouth and that is what he was spitting out. But spitting something out of one’s mouth, you have to take a practical approach to that….”
Bloom set Volkening’s arraignment date for Aug. 15 when he will be able to plead guilty or not guilty to all the charges against him. Volkening, whose cash bond was set at $3,000, remains in custody on a probation hold.