Quinton man found guilty on reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and battery
A man who got into an altercation last winter with a relative over the use of nicotine products in his home was convicted on a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and battery.
Richard Ivan Texler Jr., 58, of Quinton, was rendered a guilty verdict on the reduced charge (originally malicious wounding) during Sept. 25 afternoon proceedings in New Kent Circuit Court. One charge of strangulation was struck due to insufficient evidence.
Monday afternoon’s contest trial revolved around a Dec. 9, 2016 incident between Texler and a relative. Special prosecutor Clay Blanton said that the victim was staying at Texler’s home when the defendant found electronic cigarettes hidden inside a mattress in the early morning hours around 3 a.m. The victim testified about Texler’s belief for having nicotine in his home.
“He believes that nicotine is a drug and didn’t want it in his home,” the victim said. “We got into an altercation and he [Texler] got violent.”
According to the victim’s testimony, Texler smacked them several times before the two were wrestled to the phone. After calling another family relative on the phone to diffuse the situation, Texler allegedly clinched the victim’s neck for seven seconds.
“I didn’t know if he’d let me go or if I would die,” the victim testified.
After the confrontation, the victim was taken to the front door and exited, wearing only thin clothing and no shoes nor jacket as temperatures were about 25 degrees. According to the victim’s story, they were pushed out, while Texler testified later that he told the victim to ‘cool off.’
The victim continued testifying about the events after being removed from the house.
“I was afraid to go back in there and I walked down the driveway,” the victim said. “When I saw lights coming I hid in the briar bushes and fields. I didn’t want to go back with him. I was scared.”
Eventually, the victim made their way to Jab’s Grille in Providence Forge shortly after 6 a.m. An employee called the authorities,, with Deputy Andrew Wilson responding.
“The victim was cold and had scuffed feet,” the deputy testified. “When I spoke with Texler, he admitted he grabbed her by the arm and shoved her but nothing else.”
Walking barefoot for several miles in the cold resulted in the victim having three surgeries to remove dead skin and closing wounds. Blanton argued that Texler’s acts led to the victim’s injuries and the malicious wounding was the appropriate charge as additional testimony from medical witnesses along with pictures were entered into evidence.
Defense attorney Todd Stone’s rebuttal centered on the argument and that it wasn’t the first time the defendant and victim had a similar result from an altercation.
“As the court heard in the direct examination, the victim admitted that it wasn’t the first time they left the house,” argued Stone. “The victim even said that my client [Texler] would be waiting for them to come back and they usually did.
Texler testified on his defense and gave his rendition of the events that occurred.
“I had walked in to check on the victim I opened the door and saw them trying to hide something.
“We got into an argument and I was punched and kicked and had to strongly subdue them. I never hit them, but I wrestled the victim to the ground to restrain them.”
Both attorneys argued contents of language that led to the victim leaving the house. The prosecution claimed that Texler said, “Get the hell out my house and I hope you freeze to death,” while the defense argued that he said, “Get back in here before you freeze to death.”
Stone’s final argument said that while his defendant was guilty of simple assault, Texler did not cause the injuries to the victim.
“Even the victim said that Texler thought they would come back,” the defense attorney said. “The only harm and marks were scratches and they were caused by entering into the briar patch as well as the defendant walking barefoot. He did not cause that.”
Judge B. Elliott Bondurant agreed with the defense, looking at the evidence in the case along with pictures placed into evidence.
“As I look at the pictures and these red marks, I have heard from testimony from both the doctor, nurse, and the police that it could have been caused by either the weather or by physical contact. Ducking into the bushes, as said by the victim in their testimony, caused the scratches.
“As I read the stature, there was no injury and there has to be intent to have malicious wounding,” the judge continued. “The victim testified to similar past experiences where Mr. Texler would expect them to return after an argument and I have no idea if he had any intent for these injuries or not.
“I think he’s guilty of the misdemeanor assault and battery, but not malicious wounding,” Bondurant concluded.
Formal sentencing for Texler is scheduled for Nov. 13.