PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The wife and mother of a father/son duo charged with feloniously assaulting a homeless man last September is now suing that man claiming she was spit on and hit before the violent assault took place outside of Nick's Dairy Creme in Pueblo.
The incident happened on September 14, 2022. Doug and Nick Cullison were caught on surveillance video taking Alex Montoya to the ground and punching him several times outside of the business. On scene, the Cullisons told officers with the Pueblo Police Department that their loved one, Maria Cullison, was assaulted by Montoya outside of a local elementary school mere minutes before the assault took place.
Montoya, through his attorney Shawn Conti, filed a county lawsuit against the Cullisons, alleging battery and false imprisonment. According to a PPD report, Montoya was issued a ticket for battery and was released to the hospital. There was no indication that Doug or Nate were arrested or charged in connection to the incident initially.
The Pueblo Police Department reopened its investigation into the matter and referred misdemeanor assault charges to the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office for Montoya and the Cullisons. The DA's office later discovered new evidence and upgraded the Cullisons' charges to a class 4 felony for felony assault. Montoya is still facing the original misdemeanor assault charges.
Now, Maria Cullison through her attorney Stephen Cornetta, has filed a counter-suit alleging similar claims of battery and emotional distress.
In the complaint obtained by 13 Investigates, Maria claims she observed Montoya outside of a nearby elementary school, where she worked as a District 60 employee, light a pipe and smoke an unknown substance from it. Maria claims she told Montoya that he needed to leave "as there was concern for the school children in the building and in the immediate area," the complaint says.
When Montoya refused to leave, the lawsuit claims that he called Maria a "f***ing b****" and referred to her as being part of the "Illuminati." After initially leaving, the lawsuit claims Montoya returned to the school, struck her in the head, and began spitting on the windows of the truck that she was in.
"She was at the school, the elementary school. She confronted Mr. Montoya trying to get him to leave. He came back, spit on her, struck her, and acted in a sort of disorderly manner after that," Cornetta said.
Minutes later, Doug and Nate Cullison found Montoya walking along the sidewalk outside of Nick's Dairy Creme and violently beat Montoya, attempting to make a citizen's arrest until police officers arrived on the scene.
The attorney for Maria is asking for a jury trial and for judgment to be entered against Montoya for his alleged actions. They are asking for "compensatory damages in a sum to be determined fairly by the trier."
Cornetta said the Cullison family's "side of the story" hasn't been told, prompting them to receive significant community backlash as a result.
"She's received a certain amount negative publicity based on things that happened afterwards. I don't believe or she doesn't believe that her side of this has been accounted for in terms of what she went through," Cornetta said.
Meanwhile, Montoya's attorney, Shawn Conti, says the filing of this lawsuit against his client is an attempt to even the legal playing field.
"This happens very frequently in these types of cases where one party will file claim, the other side files a claim in the hopes that if they are awarded any money damages, it will somehow offset the amount that they're going to owe my client," Conti said.
In addition to that, Conti claims it's an attempt to even out the press coverage of the violent assault.
"I don't like all the bad press that my family's getting, all the bad press that my husband and son's getting, we're good people," Conti said referring to the Maria Cullison. "Completely disregard this. Let me go ahead and filed this lawsuit to try to get some sympathy for me and my family."
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