PITTSFIELD -- A New York state man accused of choking his now ex-wife until she blacked out last year was found not guilty of assault and battery on Tuesday in a Jury of Six trial.
Stephen Verniers, 35, of Schenectady, N.Y., allegedly choked his 31-year-old former wife when she came to the apartment that they had shared in Lee and woke him on March 3, 2012, according to police. When the woman awoke, police said, she went to her parents' home and showed them bruises she had on her neck.
Three days after the alleged attack she went to the Lee police department to report the incident, she said.
During a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court on Sept. 19, Verniers' attorney, Marc C. Vincelette Sr., argued that the woman spent time with his client the next day. And he wondered why the parents didn't immediately call the police if the incident was as vicious as the woman said.
Vincelette called Lee Police Officer Stephanie Burdick to the stand as a defense witness. The officer's report reflected that she hadn't heard about the attack until 10 days later and didn't include any information on whether she had viewed any injuries. No photos of alleged injuries were included in the report.
A jury deliberated for about two hours before returning a not guilty verdict.
After the trial, Vincelette said the case could have gone either way, but that he believed in his client and was "happy for his exoneration."
Verniers is scheduled to be back in court in February to face a charge of violating a restraining order for allegedly speaking to the same woman in the court hallway.
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