Jury ac­quits Hat­field man of as­sault dur­ing do­mes­tic in­ci­dent

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN » A Hat­field Town­ship man was ac­quit­ted by a jury of all as­sault-re­lated charges in con­nec­tion with a 2016 do­mes­tic dis­tur­bance dur­ing which his one­time girl­friend claimed he slashed her in the neck and hands with a knife.

After a five-day trial, the Montgomery County jury ac­quit­ted Jamie Richard Kennedy, 45, of charges of ag­gra­vated as­sault, sim­ple as­sault and pos­sess­ing an in­stru­ment of crime in con­nec­tion with the May 13, 2016, dis­tur­bance at his for­mer apart­ment in the 100 block of Penn Street.

Be­fore the jury got the case, Judge Steven C. Tol­liver dis­missed a charge of at­tempted homi­cide against Kennedy, de­ter­min­ing prosecutors had not pre­sented suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence dur­ing the trial to sup­port that charge go­ing to the jury.

“He in­stantly started cry­ing and could barely breathe, he was shak­ing,” de­fense lawyer Emily D. Sieber said on Tues­day, de­scrib­ing Kennedy’s re­ac­tion to the ver­dict. “He’s re­lieved.”

Kennedy was ex­pected to be re­leased from the county jail on Tues­day. How­ever, Kennedy spent nearly two years in jail, in lieu of $200,000 cash bail, while await­ing the trial.

“His en­tire life, he’s lost ev­ery­thing. He’s lost his job. He lost his home. I’m just hop­ing he can get back to a nor­mal life, some sem­blance of what he had be­fore,” Sieber said.

Tes­ti­mony and court doc­u­ments re­vealed the do­mes­tic-re­lated ar­gu­ment oc­curred after Kennedy and the woman had been drink­ing at a lo­cal bar and had re­turned to Kennedy’s apart­ment.

The woman tes­ti­fied that dur­ing an ar­gu­ment Kennedy took out his pocket knife and stabbed her in the side of her neck, twist­ing the blade, and then slashed her hands, caus­ing deep lac­er­a­tions.

But dur­ing the trial, Sieber ar­gued the woman’s claims “were in­con­sis­tent with the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence.”

“How she said it hap­pened didn’t make sense,” Sieber ar­gued.

Sieber ar­gued the woman was hit­ting Kennedy in the head and Kennedy warned her he had a knife. Sieber ar­gued the woman went to grab the knife and dur­ing an en­su­ing scuf­fle she was in­jured.

Kennedy also tes­ti­fied dur­ing the trial and de­nied the woman’s ac­cu­sa­tions.

“It wasn’t a self-de­fense (case). He wasn’t in­tend­ing on hurt­ing her. She went for the knife and was in­jured, un­for­tu­nately,” claimed Sieber, who ar­gued Kennedy was not to blame for the woman’s in­juries.

The woman fled from the apart­ment after sus­tain­ing the in­juries and she drove to a nearby 7-Eleven store in the 300 block of Union Street and sought help. When po­lice re­sponded to the 7-Eleven, the woman re­ported she had been stabbed by Kennedy.

The woman was treated at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal and re­ceived nu­mer­ous stitches to her hands, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mony.

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