The owner of a popular Tri-Cities eatery made a court appearance Tuesday.

Just Joels Owner pleads not guilty

According to court documents and KEPR-TV, Joel Watson pleaded not guilty to a charge of 2nd Degree Assault. Under WA law, it's considered a Class "B" felony.

Class B felonies are usually within the sentencing range of 1 to ten years, with maximum fines not exceeding $20K.

Watson made the appearance after he was served with charges recently, stemming from an altercation he had with a woman last December. 

He had been driving home with her on I-182 after being out and about on December 21st. when the two reportedly began to argue. He allegedly began hitting her as they approached the 20th Ave. Exit. Watson dropped her off at her home, after allegedly trying to get her to exit the vehicle.

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Because the incident occurred in Franklin County, it is being handled through Franklin County Superior Court.

KEPR-TV reports Watson was released on his own recognizance, no bail, and a trial date has been set to begin on September 21st. of this year. During the appearance, the judge also signed off on a no-contact order between Watson and the woman.


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