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Man charged for assault, accused of cursing at, punching person on way to mosque

A 29-year-old is accused of shouting curse words, then punching a man on his way to Ramadan services in downtown Columbia in June.

Prosecutors charged Randall Heath of assault motivated by discrimination earlier this summer for the incident that happened just before midnight on June 17. Heath was arrested by Boone County court security Tuesday after a bond reduction hearing on the case. Judge Michael Bradley rejected the request to lower it from $20,000 cash, saying Heath “poses a danger to the community.”

Columbia police say in a probable cause statement that four people complained of a man driving by them on their way to the Islamic Center of Central Columbia at Locust and Fifth Streets. One man, wearing a traditional robe worn for prayer called a Dishdasha, told police he was walking to the mosque with his two sons and nephew to celebrate the first night of the Islamic holiday Ramadan. The driver of a red SUV, according to the statement, yelled curses at them, such as “camel jockeys,” and asked “where the Muslim girls were because he wanted to sleep with one.”

The man told the others in his group to “forgive” the driver, as the SUV passed them four times. Eventually, the SUV pulled to the side of the street, and the victim went to the driver’s side window and asked “what his problem was.

“The subject reached out with a closed fist and struck [the victim] on his right arm before driving away,” the statement said.

The Alabama license plate on the car given to CPD was registered to Heath, according to the statement.

Heath’s attorney in the assault case, Adam Dowling, said he is still waiting for evidence from the prosecutor’s office to begin his investigation. He hopes to resolve the case “sooner rather than later.” Dowling said Heath has lived in Columbia for several years. ABC 17 News tried to get in touch with members of his family for the story, since addresses listed on court records are in Alabama.

Later that night, Heath was pulled over in north Columbia in the Taco Bell parking lot on Smiley Lane. A separate probable cause statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol accuses Heath of speeding at the Rangeline Street and Big Bear Boulevard intersection. When the trooper pulled him over, “Heath stated he was headed home after trying to pick up a buddy who got into a fight downtown,” the statement reads.

The trooper smelled alcohol on Heath’s breath, and asked him to be honest about if he drank that night. Heath admitted to having a couple drinks, then performed poorly on later field sobriety tests. Heath refused a breathalyzer test, and faces a civil suit with the Department of Revenue because of it.

Heath was arrested that night for DWI, but bonded out of the Boone County Jail shortly after.

(Editor’s note, 9/2, 10:47 p.m.: An earlier version of the story listed Heath’s age as 26. His age is 29.)

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