A man accused of slashing a good Samaritan trying to break up a bar fight in Lake Elsinore pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder and other charges.
Johnathan Michael Schmidt, 29, was arrested in April after allegedly attacking the victim and at least one other person in the 31000 block of Riverside Drive, near Lakeshore Drive.
Schmidt appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta for his arraignment on the attempted murder count, as well as felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon, and a misdemeanor allegation of battery.
Clark appointed Schmidt a public defender prior to taking his plea, and afterward upped his bail from $25,000 to $1 million, resulting in his being taken into custody by bailiffs and booked into the Southwest Detention Center.
A bail-setting hearing in the case is set for Thursday.
According to sheriff's Sgt. Linda Hughes, in the predawn hours of April 15, deputies were called to the Riverside Bar to investigate reports of an altercation and found the victim, whose name was withheld, suffering from a non- life-threatening gash he received while trying to stop a tussle between Schmidt and another man.
Witnesses provided a description of the heavily tattooed defendant, who fled in a dark green Ford Explorer, which deputies spotted a short time later near the intersection of Bryant Street and Grand Avenue in Wildomar, according to Hughes.
She said Schmidt complied with deputies' commands to stop and was taken into custody without incident. A knife was confiscated from his SUV, the sergeant said.
Schmidt was booked into jail, but released hours later after posting bail.
The victim did not require hospitalization. No other injuries were reported.
Schmidt has a prior assault-related felony conviction, but it was not in Riverside County, and the circumstances of that incident were not disclosed in court documents.
– City News Service.