Appeals court denies Petersburg man’s request to overturn conviction in fight over trespassing

RICHMOND – The state Courtroom of Appeals has refused to overturn a Petersburg man’s unlawful-wounding conviction following a 2021 struggle along with his neighbor over allegations of trespassing.

In a unanimous opinion launched Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the appellate court docket stated that Aaron Michael Easter’s declare of performing in self-defense was correctly rejected by the trial court docket after video proof indicated that the defendant was the aggressor. In September 2022, Easter was sentenced to 5 years in jail with three years suspended.

Easter was charged with breaking his neighbor’s nostril throughout a squabble over Easter reportedly trespassing whereas the neighbor was not at house. Based on trial court docket data, the 2 males by no means had harsh phrases previous to the incident.

The sufferer, who court docket data confirmed is 25 years older than Easter, was hit twice within the face, based on testimony. The primary punch was a glancing blow, however the second punch linked with the neighbor’s nostril.

At trial, the sufferer testified the punch felt like “my head exploded” and he felt blood dripping onto his torso and legs. He initially rejected medical remedy as a result of he thought it was only a bloody nostril, but it surely was later revealed {that a} damaged bone in his nostril had put stress on considered one of his sinuses. Surgical procedure was carried out, however the sufferer testified he nonetheless felt the results of the blow a 12 months later, corresponding to sudden nosebleeds and a partial lack of odor.

Easter testified that the sufferer, not him, was the aggressor. He stated he solely fought again after the sufferer challenged him, and at that time, “one thing came to visit me.” He by no means denied throwing the punches however stated he was doing so in his personal protection.

Citing video of the occasion, the appellate panel determined the trial court docket was right in denying Easter’s movement to strike the prosecution’s proof.

“The truth is, the video proof exhibits Easter angrily superior in the direction of [the victim] greater than as soon as as [another person] tried to restrain him,” the opinion learn. “That habits demonstrated Easter’s intentions, as did his response to [the victim’s] remark that he was making an attempt to ‘preserve the peace.’”

Learn the whole Courtroom of Appeals opinion right here.

Invoice Atkinson (he/him/his) is an award-winning journalist who covers breaking information, authorities and politics. Attain him at batkinson@progress-index.com or on X (previously often called Twitter) at @BAtkinson_PI.

This text initially appeared on The Progress-Index: Va. court docket upholds conviction in Petersburg boundary struggle

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