Trial date set for man in beating, robbery

Matthew E. Poarch is accused of beating up an acquaintance and taking items from him earlier this month.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of beating up an acquaintance and stealing items from him earlier this month is set for trial beginning July 11 on a felony charge.

Matthew E. Poarch, 22, of 683 Pima Road, No. 277, pleaded innocent Monday afternoon in Walla Walla County Superior Court to the charge of first-degree robbery.

Poarch is accused of confronting Spencer Caldwell in the parking lot area of Taco Bell, 202 N. Wilbur Ave. about 7:35 p.m. May 4 while Caldwell was on a break from his job there. The two had worked together at another restaurant in the past and Poarch was angry for some reason, according to a police report filed in court.

Poarch allegedly shoved Caldwell against a fence, the two started fighting and Poarch struck Caldwell multiple times in the head and face, the report says.

Poarch then took Caldwell's cell phone and wallet, and threw the phone at Caldwell, causing it to hit the concrete and break, according to officials. Poarch -- who had arrived at the scene in a car driven by someone else -- left in the vehicle and officials were notified, police said.

Caldwell reportedly suffered facial and head injuries, which were examined by paramedics at the scene.

Poarch was arrested May 6 and booked into the County Jail. Bail was set at $20,000.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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