Man convicted of assault

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A jury of three men and nine women deliberated for less than an hour before returning a guilty verdict for a Nashville man accused of assault in Marshall County.

Kenneth Pugmire swore out a warrant against Gary Wayne Armstrong, 50, after an Aug. 2006 incident on Pugmire's property on Anderson Lane. Pugmire and Armstrong got into an altercation because Armstrong failed to dump a load of chert where Pugmire wanted it. Verbal insults were exchanged. Armstrong is alleged to have knocked Pugmire down with his fist, and then gone back to the dump truck to get a metal pipe with which he hit Pugmire on the legs.

"This man had no right to be beaten on his own property like that," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard.

The jury was shown photographs of Pugmire's injuries, which included bruises, abrasions, and a cut across the nose. They heard testimony from two eyewitnesses.

"One witness (Armstrong) is calling the other three liars," Barnard told the jury. "Somebody is lying to you - you figure it out."

"He used or displayed a deadly weapon (the piece of pipe) and caused bodily injury," said Barnard as he summed up the case.

"This is not an aggravated assault; it's only a minor injury," countered William F. Harold of the Public Defender's Office.

The jury found Armstrong guilty of aggravated assault because he used or displayed a deadly weapon, in this case the metal bar or pipe. They also found him guilty of three counts of assault because he caused fear of bodily injury, caused bodily injury, and made offensive or provocative contact with the victim's body.

Armstrong was free on a $3,500 bond, but after the jury had been thanked and dismissed, Barnard asked that bond be "substantially increased." It was then revealed that Armstrong had a string of prior convictions for assault, as well as aggravated assault, armed robbery, forgery, and violation of probation.

The prosecutor noted that Marshall County law enforcement had caught up with Armstrong when he was convicted of an assault in Maury County subsequent to this one.

Noting a lack of family ties that would keep Armstrong in Marshall County, Judge Robert Crigler set his bond at $20,000. Armstrong remained in jail as of Friday, Aug. 28. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 7.