Charges were dismissed against one person charged with a May 2 assault, but were upheld against the other and sent to the grand jury.
The preliminary hearing for Johnny Dargavell, 24 of 221 College St., ended fairly quickly Wednesday afternoon, when no evidence was presented that he participated in the assault and robbery of James Abner.
Charges against the co-defendant, Royce Paynter, 30 of 125 Linden Ave., went to the grand jury after Abner testified that Paynter hit him repeatedly with brass knuckles.
Abner said he and Dargavell were friends, but he had not met Paynter before that day. He said the three of them, plus Dargavell’s wife and child, were going from Abner’s home on Four Mile Road to Winchester so Dargavell could get money to buy a car stereo. During the ride, Abner said, Paynter attacked him in the back seat with the brass knuckles. Abner said there had been no conversation with Paynter or any provocation.
“I was knocked unconscious,” Abner said. “When I came to, I was out of the truck. I started swinging to get them off.”
Abner said he didn’t know whether Dargavell was helping him up or holding him down, but never said that Dargavell hit him. Dargavell then put Abner back in the car and drove him home. The authorities were called and Abner went to the hospital, where doctors found he had a fractured jaw. Abner said doctors inserted a metal plate in his chin and jaw to repair the damage and are checking him weekly to make sure everything is healing properly.
After hearing Abner’s initial testimony, Clark District Judge Earl-Ray Neal dismissed assault and theft charges against Dargavell.
Paynter’s attorney questioned the severity of Abner’s injury, based on legal definitions listed in the assault statute, but Neal found there was sufficient evidence to send the case to the grand jury. A first-degree robbery charge was dismissed against Paynter, since there was no testimony about a robbery or theft.
“It just seems, Judge, like a very unique set of circumstances,” Paynter’s attorney Alex Rowady said, noting the lack of a weapon and that there was no direct police involvement in the case. He also questioned whether the jaw fracture constituted a serious physical injury, since Abner recently returned to work.
“It just doesn’t add up to me,” Neal said, in regard to the testimony of the alleged assault. “What I did hear is evidence that is uncontroverted and meets the definition of second-degree assault.”
Charges against Dargavell were dismissed without prejudice and could be reinstated by the grand jury when it meets.
Contact Fred Petke at firstname.lastname@example.org.