Prosecutors: Jewish woman beaten, harassed in conversion attempt

BOISE -- A Boise woman is facing felony charges after police say she attacked a Jewish acquaintance, stomping on the woman's neck as part of a bizarre bid to convert her to Christianity.

Margurite Dawn Haragan, 58, has been charged with two counts of malicious harassment in an attack police have labeled a hate crime.

Prosecutors say the incident started when Haragan showed up at the victim's home Feb. 5. It's not clear how the two women know each other.

"The defendant was banging on the front window yelling at her that she better believe in Jesus and she was not going to leave until she did believe in Jesus," Ada County Prosecutor Dave Roscheck said. He said the victim, identified in court only as "A.G.," opened her door to tell Haragan to leave and to write down her license plate number.

That's when the suspect slapped her in the face and dragged her to the ground by her hair, Roscheck said.

"The defendant began kicking the victim in the stomach and thigh area," he said. "During this time the defendant was screaming at the victim that she better accept Jesus or she would not let up."

More: Police: Woman harassed acquaintance over religious beliefs

Prosecutors say Haragan stepped onto A.G.'s neck as she lay on the ground, pressing down with her foot and pulling up on the woman's head and hair. Eventually, the woman said she would become a Christian in an attempt to placate her attacker, Roscheck said, and Haragan let her go.

But according to court documents, she returned to the victim's home two days later, carving "death bin bond" into her mailbox and cutting up her mail.

Haragan was arrested Wednesday night on a felony warrant. In court Thursday, she told a judge she did not understand what she was being charged with, she did not want a public defender, and she would not hire her own lawyer.

"I am a sworn-in deputy of Ada County and I also give my oath that what I say is legal and binding," she told Judge John Hawley.

There is no record of Haragan working as a deputy in Ada County or any of the surrounding counties. Officials in Ada, Elmore, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee and Boise counties all said the woman has no affiliation with their county or sheriff's office.

Judge John Hawley decided to appoint the suspect a public defender anyway.

"These are serious charges and you really do need an attorney to assist you," he told her.

Roscheck asked the judge to set a high bond and order Haragan to stay away from the victim.

"The state is concerned for the safety of the victim if this bond is lowered, especially if the defendant was able to make bond," he said.

Hawley agreed, keeping the suspect's bond at $100,000 and issuing a no-contact order barring Haragan from talking to A.G. or going near her.

If convicted of malicious harassment, Haragan could face up to five years in prison for each count. A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 26.


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