Guilty verdict issued for telephone harassment
A Marshal County jury convicted a Lewisburg man on Monday for harassing a woman while she was working at a South Ellington Parkway grocery last year. Deliberations took 12 minutes to return a guilty verdict against Ricky Eugene Scoville, 22, of Salem Road on telephone harassment charges filed by Marshall County Sheriff's Detective Capt. Norman Dalton in September last year.
"Are you black? Are you fat? Are you ugly?" Those were the questions Scoville asked his victim, according to statements in open court on Monday when Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard closed the state's case with a reminder.
"Those days are over," Barnard told the jurors of a time before the Civil Rights Act of 1968 when society would overlook the racism implied by Scoville's words.
Kroger grocery employee Benita Nicholson, a black woman, was alarmed by the phone calls directed at her by Scoville, according to the arrest warrant sworn out by Dalton. But testimony showed she kept her cool and allowed Scoville to remain on the line so she could get a superior at the store to listen in on the call.
"This case is about one extremely unfortunate incident," Assistant Public Defender Bill Harold told the jury in closing arguments. "He called for a video tape."
However, Scoville was on probation for a conviction stemming from calls he made to Nicholson in May of 2006. That makes it a felony this time because state lawmakers have decided repeat offenders should face more severe consequences.
Dalton charged Scoville both ways in September last year: Simple harassment and the felony offense.
The all white jury of seven men and five women convicted Scoville on both counts despite Hardeman's argument that it was illogical for Scoville to call Nicholson at her job when he already had her cell and home phone numbers, especially when Scoville was making the latest calls from his home phone.
Nicholson testified that she's had no relationship with, or connection to Scoville, and didn't want such. Scoville has been in the Marshall County Jail since his arrest some 13 months ago, leading some court officers to speculate that his time served might result in his release sometime soon.
Marshall County Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler scheduled Scoville's sentencing hearing to be held on Dec. 3. A court officer explained the felony harassment charge can be punished by a term of up to two years. However, the state's sentencing law must be interpreted by Crigler who's to weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances in Scoville's case.