Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Woman In Yellowstone Bathroom
A man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to waiting in a restroom in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone National Park and assaulting a woman in July, according to federal court records.
Jackson Coombs pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon during a change of plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne.
Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal set Coombs' sentencing date for April 4. He remains in custody.
After Coombs was arrested in July, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered him detained because he was charged with a violent crime, and there were no guarantees he would not be a danger to the community or that he was not a flight risk. Carman added Coombs may face a lengthy prison sentence, he has a history of violence and substance abuse, he lacks stable employment and a stable residence, and a history of failing to appear for court dates.
The case started July 18 when a ranger was called to the Mammoth Xanterra cabins for a report of a sexual assault in progress. On his way there, the ranger heard about an assault between two men. By the time he arrived, Coombs was in custody, according to a criminal complaint.
Coombs said his face was burning, possibly because exposure to bear spray. An emergency management crew began to decontaminate him.
The ranger interviewed two men who held Coombs on the floor until law enforcement arrived.
One man said he was the boyfriend of the victim of the alleged assault. They were staying in a nearby cabin, and they walked to the community restroom. When he was exiting the men's room he heard a cry for help from the women's room, knocked on the door asking if someone needed help, pushed the door open, and saw a pair legs sticking out from the far stall.
He went to that stall and saw Coombs assaulting his girlfriend.
Coombs then began striking the boyfriend and biting him twice on the lower right forearm and on the upper left side of his chest. Coombs also pulled out bear spray and tried to spray the boyfriend with it, but the boyfriend slapped it away.
The girlfriend went outside and found a bystander. He went inside to help the boyfriend keep Coombs on the ground.
In her account of the incident, the girlfriend told the ranger she entered the bathroom, saw an individual behind the door of one stall with toes pointed toward the wall and not the stall door.
She went to the far stall. As she was about to leave, Coombs began to pound on the door, broke in wearing toilet paper around his face, and began to attack her and spray her with bear spray. She began to crawl under the partition to the next stall when her boyfriend entered.