When the 29-year-old was ordered out of a Jeep and made to take off his clothes as 4-5 inches of snow piled up on Dec. 16, he said he feared the worst.
He watched as Clifford M. Cole, 46, pulled out a black handgun from the vehicle and walked toward him, the man testified during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Ada County Magistrate Court.
“You’re going to remember this the rest of your life,” the man said Cole told him.
The man said he owed Cole $155 for drugs. He thought he would be killed. Instead, he said, Cole hit him several times in the head with the gun.
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The man pleaded with Cole to at least allow him to keep on his socks. That’s all he was wearing when a prison worker for the Idaho Department of Correction, on the way to work at a prison south of Boise, found the man bleeding along Pleasant Valley Road, just past Hollilynn Drive.
The IDOC employee drove the man to the prison to get him out of the elements. Paramedics later drove him to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for treatment. Doctors placed six staples in his head, he said.
The victim said he was standing outside a Jacksons Food Store at South Broadway Avenue and West Linden Street, waiting for a ride, when a man he didn’t know pulled up in a Ford Explorer and told him to get in. A woman the victim knew had warned him she was sending someone to fetch him, he told the court Tuesday.
After they pulled out onto the road, the driver of the Ford said there was someone in another vehicle ahead of them — the Jeep — who wanted to talk with the victim. They soon pulled back over. The man said Cole was driving the Jeep and told him to get in.
Cole, he said, wanted his money and said he believed the man was trying to stiff him. The victim said he acknowledged the debt, but didn’t have the money to pay him.
“I told him I was not trying to burn him,” the man testified. “I told him I meant to pay him back.”
Eventually, the Jeep ended up south of Boise, and Cole allegedly ordered the victim out into the snow.
He said Cole took a backpack he had with him. It contained a laptop computer, two cellphones, work tools and several items of clothing, he said.
Magistrate James Cawthon found probable cause to prosecute Cole for aggravated battery, robbery and first-degree kidnapping. He scheduled Cole to appear before Judge Deborah Bail for arraignment in district court on Jan. 23.
Cole remains in the Ada County Jail, where he is being held on $500,000 bail.