Stabbing suspect has history of violence

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COEUR d'ALENE - A transient arrested for allegedly stabbing another transient in a wooded area behind the Target retail store on Monday has a significant criminal history.

Part of that history includes an attempt late last month to stab a man in the abdomen behind a Coeur d'Alene liquor store, according to court documents.

James H. Kountz, 56, on Thursday made his first appearance in a Kootenai County courtroom for the Monday incident.

In a criminal complaint, Kountz was charged with aggravated battery and use of a deadly weapon. Because he's been convicted of multiple prior felonies, he also is facing a persistent violator charge. Earlier it had been reported he would be charged with attempted second-degree murder.

As part of his lengthy criminal history, Kountz has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, arson, robbery and threats to kill, with multiple convictions coming from out of state.

His bond was increased to $250,000 from $100,000 by Judge Scott Wayman Thursday.

The victim in Monday's stabbing, 42-year-old James R. Hoglen, staggered out of the wooded area, crossed a couple lanes of U.S. 95 and collapsed on the grassy divider in the middle of the highway.

Hoglen, who is from Reno, Nev., was taken to Kootenai Medical Center. He was listed in good condition late Thursday, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

The search for Kountz started Monday night and lasted until late Wednesday. Initially police used a helicopter and K-9 unit to search for him.

He was eventually found in the densely wooded area where the alleged stabbing occurred. The area is known to be sometimes inhabited by transients.

On May 29 in Kootenai County, Kountz agreed to be sentenced on a charge of battery.

In that earlier case, according to a Coeur d'Alene Police Department report, Kountz got into an argument with another man behind a liquor store at Appleway Avenue and Government Way and threatened to stab the man with a Leatherman multi-purpose tool.

The man told police that Kountz lunged at him and tried to stab him. The victim in that incident suffered a minor injury to his abdomen, the report said.

While on his way to the Kootenai County jail after being arrested in that attack, Kountz told an officer, "I want to rip off your head and (expletive) down your throat."

According to the officer's report, "James (Kountz) also told me if he could meet me alone, he would stab me."

Kountz was ordered to serve 10 days in jail for the liquor store attack. He also was given two years of probation.

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