Judge dismisses downtown stabbing case, cites self defense

Francis Montoya has been cleared of charges.
Francis Montoya has been cleared of charges.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge dismissed charges Thursday against the man accused of stabbing another man outside Molly Darcy's Pub in April, citing self defense as the reason.

Francis Xavier Montoya, a federal agent with the Food and Drug Administration, was deemed to be acting in self defense after he and another federal officer were attacked by a "grossly intoxicated and belligerent man" while walking down a downtown road, court documents state.

An incident report says Montoya and Mendoza were walking past Molly Darcy Pub on East Bay Street when Thomas Disser attacked Mendoza at 2 a.m. on April 14.

Witness testimony says Mendoza was knocked to the ground by Disser, who then began kicking Mendoza in the head. Disser then rushed towards Montoya, taking him down.

Montoya says he was able to push Disser off of him and then fled, leaving his friend behind. It is at that time that other people who were around the incident grabbed Disser and restrained him.

Disser then fell to the ground with a knife wound to his abdomen. Officers say Montoya stabbed Disser, presumably while the two were wrestling on the ground.

Montoya was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. When Disser was interviewed the next day, he did not remember what happened the previous night.

A knife was never found.

Police obtained a cell phone video from a man who was filming near the encounter.  They say the video backs up Montoya's testimony that he and his friend were attacked for no reason by the drunk man.

The courts ruling to grant Montoya immunity comes after deciding that eyewitness and video testimony showed that "Montoya was confronted with the threat of immediate and great bodily injury to himself and to Mendoza and was, therefore, legally entitle to meet the threat with force," according to court documents.

It also says he was allowed to use force in the matter to prevent a violent crime.

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