A 35-year-old man was jailed on $28,000 bail, accused of battering his mother when she came to the Methodist church in Gardnerville to stop his wedding. Justin Lew Harris of Gardnerville was jailed, accused of domestic battery and coercion. According to the 55-year-old alleged victim, she was summoned to Carson Valley United Methodist Church on Monday afternoon by her son to witness his wedding to his 30-year-old fiancée. In her statement, the woman said she didn't condone her son's marriage and intended to stop it.
“As soon as I walked in church, Justin grabbed me by the neck of my shirt and drug me out of the church,” she said. The victim said she has rheumatoid arthritis, walks with a cane, and she kept falling as her son carried her out of the church. Harris told deputies his mother showed up at church “yelling and screaming, so I carried her to her car because she has bad legs. The only thing I did was carry her to the car. I would never hurt my mother,” Harris said in his statement.
The bride-to-be backed up Harris' account. She took refuge in the sanctuary, according to reports. There was a scuffle over the victim's cell phone as she tried to call 911 which was broken up by Pastor Pete Nelson, according to the sheriff's report. Nelson told authorities the wedding was set for 2:30 p.m., but the couple had no witnesses and had contacted Harris' mother. “She was very upset and insisted that Justin not marry (his fiancée),” Nelson said. “I told her that the decision was theirs and not ours.”
He said Harris carried his mother out of the church. Nelson said the parties left, and there was no wedding. The mother was checked by paramedics and refused treatment. Justice Tom Perkins urged Harris to treat family members with respect after the mother indicated she wanted contact with him. Mr Perkins ordered Harris to return to court for a hearing on November 2.