Woman found guilty of malicious assault
WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County Circuit Court judge found a Basye woman guilty of malicious wounding during a bench trial Wednesday.
Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp ruled Pamela Joy Fox, 51, did indeed smash a mason jar against the face of Donna Fansler on Jan. 14, breaking Fansler’s nose and causing bleeding and bruising.
While Fox’s attorney, Michael Araj, said Fox only broke the glass on Fansler in self defense and as a reaction to an assault, Hupp said given Fox’s alleged intoxication, her inconsistent statements to police and to the court, and the unlikeliness of her claims, he found her guilty as charged.
“That really just doesn’t hold any water,” Hupp said of Fox’s testimony before delivering the verdict.
The incident began when Fansler went to check on her brother Dwayne Allen Dudley in a mobile home in Lambert’s Mobile Villa in Edinburg. Fansler had leased the trailer for him while he was putting his life back together after some legal trouble, Fansler said in testimony.
She said she entered the trailer to find Fox, who had been told she is not allowed in the residence, with her brother. Fox did not leave when asked, and when Fansley put a hand on Fox’s shoulder, Fox swung around with the mason jar.
During Fox’s testimony, however, she claimed a beer can was crushed on the back of her head by Fansley before Fox swung the glass in self-defense. Fox later claimed she swung the glass upon losing her balance. She said she was trying to stand when Fansley pushed her.
Deputy Glenn Ogle of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, who responded to the scene, testified that Fox had told him Fansley punched the back of Fox’s head before she swung the jar.
Ogle said he saw no sign of injuries on Fox, but suspected she was drunk at the time given her slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and the odor of alcohol from her person. He also said Fansley was bleeding significantly after the incident.
Although Araj called on Dudley to testify, Dudley said he did not recall most events that occurred that night, although he said Fansley did not attack Fox, as he remembers.
Hupp later remarked that although the defense called Dudley as a witness, he only corroborated Fansley’s side of the argument.
Representing the Commonwealth of Virginia, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Kristen Zalenski said because Dudley’s testimony was of little use to the court, it comes down to a he-said-she-said debate, but Fansley’s story is more consistent than Fox’s.
“She [Fox] has added details today she did not tell Officer Ogle the night of,” Zalenski said. “She’s changed her story to look better for her on the stand.”
After a short deliberation, Hupp shared his thinking behind the verdict and ultimately found Fox guilty. He then ordered Fox to return to the court at 9 a.m. Jan. 11 for a sentencing hearing.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org