Jury finds Libby man guilty of felony assault, unlawful restraint and witness tampering

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Robert Gene Clift (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

A jury on Thursday found Robert “Bob” Gene Clift, 44, of Libby guilty of charges resulting from a Sept. 12, 2016 incident in which he beat a woman and held her against her will at his house on Falcon Trail.

Clift was charged with felony assault and unlawful restraint, a misdemeanor, in connection with the incident. A charge of witness tampering, a felony, was added later after Clift asked his father, during a recorded phone call during a jail visitation, to change his testimony.

Clift will be sentenced Nov. 6 in 19th District Court at the Lincoln County Courthouse.

About 3 p.m. Sept. 12, 2016, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brent Faulkner responded to a call about a woman lying in the driveway of a Falcon Trail residence. Faulkner found the woman inside the home of a neighbor who was not involved with the incident. According to Faulkner’s report, the woman was already swollen, both eyes were black and she was bleeding from the mouth.

The victim. Amber Pierce, told Faulkner that Clift had assaulted her. In court Faulkner testified that Clift and Pierce had previously been in a relationship but were not dating at the time of the incident. Faulkner testified that Pierce told him they were returning from Kalispell after a day of shopping when they stopped at The Kickin’ Horse Saloon near Happy’s Inn. After leaving the bar, Pierce said she was driving and as they neared Libby Clift began to get upset and told her to pull over. Upon reaching the Hammer Cutoff road on Highway 2 Clift instructed her to pull over after punching her in the face.

They got out and began arguing in front of the car at the Hammer Cutoff intersection, where another driver called dispatch to report the two having a dispute around 1:45 p.m. Officer Faulkner was dispatched to the area and unable to locate the two.

After the call Clift then drove Pierce to his home on Falcon Trail Road and drug her into his home to his bedroom.

Pierce then testified that upon Clift taking her to his bedroom he continued to assault her, hitting her in the face and torso before trying to strangle her. She told Faulkner that she pretended to pass out so he would leave her alone, but he kept hitting her. Clift told the victim several times that he was going to kill her and bury her in the back yard.

Eventually, the victim said, Clift passed out and she was able to escape the house. She ran to a neighboring home and knocked on the door but there was no answer. While trying to reach a second neighbor’s home to look for help she passed out in the driveway. A neighbor called 911 to report finding Pierce in his driveway. Faulkner and Sargent Bo Pitman then responded to a residence at 158 Falcon Trail Road.

Faulkner asked Clift’s father, James Clift if he would check Bob’s home to see if he was there. James told Faulkner that he would check but that the officers needed to stay outside. After approximately 3 minutes James returned to tell the officers that Bob Clift was not in the home and he didn’t know anything. Faulkner and Pitman also located Pierce’s car at the residence of Bob Clift.

Clift was not arrested until the next day September 13th when Faulkner was able to secure a search warrant for Clift. Officers knocked but there was no answer. The Officers then used a PA to get him out. Clift eventually exited the home approximately 8 minutes later. Clift was arrested at his home and taken to the Lincoln County Detention Facility where he has remained incarcerated since.

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