Attorneys for three Richmond residents accused of assaulting a Ballard Drive couple argued Wednesday that the case against them lacked credibility and suggested that lesser charges may be more appropriate.

In a preliminary hearing in Madison District Court, public defenders representing Angelica Slone, Douglas Slone and Timothy Akers questioned the evidence against the three, who are charged with burglary for allegedly kicking in the door of an apartment and assaulting the occupants.

“There are true credibility problems here,” said Meena Mohanty, a Madison County public defender, who after hearing the commonwealth’s testimony said there were no outward signs of a burglary and no damage to the door that had allegedly been kicked. She temporarily represents Douglas Slone in the case.

“I think there are some questions,” she said. “Why did a person with an open head wound refuse medical treatment? Was it just a calm night at the Ball residence when somebody knocked on the door? How could somebody kick in a door and there not be any damage?”

Attorney Scott West, who was representing Angelica Slone, said he did not think the prosecution established probable cause for burglary charges against his client.

“I think the commonwealth established probable cause for criminal trespass and I’m not sure that this is a burglary second,” West said. “There is a statement that Mrs. Slone attacked the lady in the house. We can’t tell from the evidence though whether that was to aid the others who were already involved in the fight. Certainly, the evidence is she knocked on the door, did not enter and it was only after a fight started, apparently that she became involved in the fight, if it happened.”

West also said he questions whether the incident happened inside the apartment or outside of it.

“I don’t understand neighbors coming forward to break up a fight that was going on inside the house,” he said. “It makes more sense that something may be going on outside. I just don’t know if the intent to commit a crime has been established.”

Madison County Attorney Marc Robbins disagreed, saying probable cause was established with the testimony.

“I don’t know, Judge,” Robbins said. “I guess I just listen to things differently than the counsel. It’s pretty clear from the testimony today that three folks entered Mr. Ball’s residence without permission and certainly they were there with the intent to commit a crime because the three of them, according to testimony heard here today, attacked these two residents.”

“It seems to me that probable cause was established and all three of these matters need to go to the grand jury,” he said.

District Judge Brandy O. Brown agreed, bounding the case over to the grand jury.

Richmond Police Officer William Daniels said during the preliminary hearing that he was dispatched Nov. 10 to an apartment on Ballard Drive to investigate a report of an assault.

He said he was met outside in front of the apartment building by Jesse Ball and several neighbors. Ball told police he had been punched in the head by Timothy Akers with a pair of brass knuckles.

Daniels said when he arrived, Ball was suffering from a large laceration to the top left side of his head.

“EMS advised that he needed staples to close it, but he refused medical treatment,” Daniels said.

The incident began, the officer testified, when Angelica Slone knocked on the door of the residence. A female resident came to the door, but did not know who was outside, so Ball answered the knock, Daniels said.

The woman, later identified as Angelica Slone, asked Ball, “Why did you call the cops on Lonnie?” Daniels said.

Ball said he did not call the police and did not want any trouble, Daniels said. He apparently shut the door, but then two men and the woman burst through the door, the officer said.

Ball told police the two men began beating him while the woman attacked Ball’s girlfriend.

After the attack, the trio fled toward Norwood Drive, the couple told police.

Nothing was taken in the incident, Daniels said.

Minutes later, officers in the area of Norwood Drive saw a vehicle departing at a high rate of speed, Daniels said. The car was pulled over and the occupants fit the description of the suspects, he said.

The officer said he brought Ball to the scene of the traffic stop, where he identified his attackers.

Akers was charged with first-degree burglary and the Slones were each charged with second-degree burglary. A fourth person in the vehicle was not arrested.

Daniels said he did not find brass knuckles on Akers’ person or in the vehicle.

When questioned by police, all three suspects said denied having had any contact with the victims, Daniels said.

During cross-examination, Mohanty asked Daniels if he saw any signs that the door to Ball’s apartment was kicked in.

“The area itself is kind of run down,” Daniels said. “I didn’t notice any damage to the door.”

He also said Ball’s wound was bleeding and that there was blood inside the apartment, on the floor of the entryway.

“Regardless of whether you live on Ballard Drive, residents deserve to feel safe in their homes,” Robbins said.

At the end of the hearing, attorneys for all three defendants asked for bond reduction.

Brown granted a bond reduction of the Slones, from $10,000 cash to $10,000 at 10 percent. Akers’ bond was not lowered from $10,000 cash.

Lorie Love can be reached at llove@richmondregister.com or 624-6690.

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