Arroyo councilman Ed Arnold pleads not guilty to charges related to attack on woman

Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold pleaded not guilty to five felony charges in connection with an attack on a 28-year-old woman in December.

Arnold, 45, entered the plea in a San Luis Obispo courtroom Monday morning. He was formally charged Thursday with first-degree residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, making criminal threats and illegal possession of an assault weapon — an Intratec Tec-22 pistol, which is a semi-automatic handgun.

The councilman also will be charged with two criminal enhancements, including alleged burglary of an inhabited dwelling and alleged use of a deadly weapon — a club — in the commission of a felony, the District Attorney’s office says.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt is prosecuting the case.

A receptionist working for Arnold’s attorney, Jeff Stein, said Thursday that the defense lawyer had no comment.

Arnold allegedly attacked the woman Dec. 15 with a metal pipe after breaking into her home on Turquoise Drive in Arroyo Grande.

Prosecutors said in the filing that Arnold’s alleged criminal threats conveyed a “gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution.”

The councilman is charged with domestic violence because the woman formerly lived with the defendant, prosecutors said.

The Tribune isn’t naming the woman because she is the alleged victim of domestic violence.

According to court documents, Arnold, the woman and Arnold’s wife were involved in a love triangle. Arnold allegedly blamed the woman for the breakup of his marriage.

Arnold has remained on the Arroyo Grande City Council, but he didn’t attend the last meeting on Jan. 12.

Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams said Thursday that he anticipates hearing from Arnold on whether he’ll attend the next regular meeting Tuesday night.

If Arnold misses Tuesday’s meeting without the council’s permission, he could lose his seat under a state law that requires a city council member to attend a regularly scheduled meeting within a 60-day period or have excused absences, Adams said.

If a council member fails to attend meetings and doesn’t have a permitted absence, the council may start the process of filling the vacated seat with another representative.

The last council meeting Arnold attended was Dec. 8. But the following regular meeting after next week isn’t until Feb. 9 — 63 days later.