PETERSBURG - Lincoln County's General Sessions Court judge has told two town residents to stay away from each other and if they don't the offending resident could be found in contempt of court.
Judge Andy Myrick's order names Petersburg Planning Commissioner Cory Smith and Velma Dillenback, wife of Alderman Brad Dillenback. It stems from her allegation of aggravated assault against her by Smith on Jan. 23.
Smith was arrested on the charge, released on $1,000 bond and scheduled for a hearing before Myrick on Jan. 25. The case was continued and a bench trial was conducted on May 13 with Assistant District Attorney Bud Bottoms prosecuting. Fayetteville-based defense attorney Ray Fraley represented Smith.
According to the arrest warrant, "There is probable cause to believe Cory Smith did swerve his truck toward Velma Dillenback, causing her to fear for her life. There is a history of confrontations from Cory Smith toward Velma Dillenback. After Mr. Smith swerved toward her, he stopped, backed up and gestured toward her in an offensive way."
Those allegations in a public record were filed with additional statements. Her husband, the alderman, and John Hill, a town resident, were listed as witnesses.
The bench trial - a trial conducted without a jury and one that leaves the disposition of the case strictly up to the judge - took about an hour. The state called three witnesses. The defense called on a law enforcement officer. Smith did not testify on his own behalf.
Judge Myrick acknowledged there has been animosity in Petersburg and said it should stop.
After the trial, Myrick took the matter "under advisement," meaning that he was going to take some time to consider the situation before issuing a decision. July 12 was set for another hearing for the case. That's when Myrick sad he would issue a decision.
Until then, Smith "shall have no contact with the victim, Velma Dillenback, and she shall have no contact with the defendant," Smith, Myrick wrote in his order.
"Violation of this no-contact order will result in the offending party being held in contempt of court subject to a $50 fine and up to 10 days in jail," Myrick's order states.