Violent Beating at Isle Casino Hotel Leads to Criminal Trial in Iowa

Posted on: January 12, 2023, 11:07h. 

Last updated on: January 12, 2023, 12:05h.

The man accused of seriously injuring a casino player who improperly used the suspect’s wife’s loyalty card is now on trial. The attack took place in 2021 at Iowa’s Isle Casino Hotel.

Iowa’s Isle Casino Hotel
Iowa’s Isle Casino Hotel, pictured above. A trial is underway for a man who assaulted someone who had taken the defendant’s wife’s loyalty card at the casino. (Image:

Defendant Damond Jahmar Williams Sr., 46, who reportedly weighs about 470 pounds and stands about six feet tall, was charged with willful injury causing serious injury.

He testified on Wednesday in an Iowa courtroom that he never intended to seriously injure the other man.

That was not my intent at all,” Williams explained to the jury, as reported by The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. “It was all just frustration. I took my frustrations out on him.” 

The victim was pushed to the floor during the Jan. 3, 2021, attack at the Waterloo, Iowa, gaming property. He was defenseless and could not move away. Williams then punched the other man 10 times, police said. He also allegedly repeatedly kicked him.

A nearby security guard unsuccessfully tried to break up the continuing assault that lasted for a reported 25 seconds.

Eye, Facial Injuries

The victim is Montana Gunhus of Evansdale, Iowa. He had a broken jaw and orbital bone from the attack. He also is unable to see from his right eye. Gunhus required hospital treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

Doctors couldn’t relieve the pressure in his eye, and facial fractures led physicians to insert two metal plates and five screws, the Courier said.

Credits Improperly Used

The incident began after Gunhus allegedly took Williams’s wife’s loyalty card from a slot machine. He used about $100 in credit on the card.

Casino staff were alerted that the card was missing. Using surveillance technology, employees were able to trace the use of the card to Gunhus. Security guards went up to him. Gunhus turned over the card to them.

Williams had followed them. He was angry.

I wanted to confront him. When I saw him, I just hit him instead,” Williams said in court testimony.

Closing arguments in the criminal trial were presented on Wednesday. Jurors were expected to deliberate on the case late this week.

In a civil lawsuit against the casino, Gunhus was awarded a $1.98 million judgment following a trial last October, the Courier said. That includes $1.732 million in damages.

During the civil trial, Gunhus’s attorneys argued that casino policy contributed to their client’s injuries. The casino has a policy that employees cannot intervene once an assault is underway.

Security guards failed to watch where Williams was located after discovering who was using the player’s card, Gunhus’s attorneys claimed. The guards also didn’t keep the two men apart before the assault took place, the lawyers added.

Instead of intervening, security guards called 911 to notify local police. They also ordered Williams to stop the punching and kicking.