Thomas James Lucero

Thomas James Lucero, 28, appears Wednesday via video in Gallatin County Justice Court.

A four-day jury trial is scheduled in April for a Billings man accused of assaulting and kidnapping his girlfriend from her Helena home, then forcing her at knifepoint to drive him to Billings.

Thomas James Lucero, 28, will stand trial in Gallatin County District Court starting April 14 for felony charges of aggravated kidnapping and assault with a weapon. Lucero is also charged with aggravated kidnapping and two counts of rape, all felonies, in Lewis and Clark County, according to a warrant for Lucero’s arrest.

Lucero has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is being held at the Gallatin County jail on $250,000 bail.

A trial for the Lewis and Clark County charges is scheduled for Sept. 9.

In January, Lucero brandished a knife and assaulted his girlfriend after she confronted him for playing loud music around 2 a.m. at her Helena home, according to charging documents. The woman said Lucero then raped her, held the knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.

The assault lasted until about 7:30 a.m., when Lucero then forced her to drive him to Billings in her car, police said in charging documents.

The woman said Lucero fell asleep around Townsend but would wake up when the car slowed and threatened to kill her if she tried to escape.

A Gallatin County sheriff’s deputy spotted the woman’s car on U.S. Highway 287 but was unable to stop it.

The woman turned on to Interstate 90 heading east. After chasing the car for about 10 miles, police said they used a spike strip to blow its tires out. The woman ran to law enforcement officers when the car stopped.

The woman said she thought Lucero would have stabbed her if she stopped sooner. She said she believed one officer would not have been enough to protect her.

Police said Lucero admitted he fought with the woman, brandished a knife and made her drive him to Billings. Lucero had bloodstains on his pants and shoes when he was arrested.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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