Hunter Acquitted of Assault

An Ohio County magistrate court jury Thursday acquitted James Alan Hunter of domestic assault.

The panel of three men and three women decided there was not enough evidence to prove Hunter, 41, of Wheeling, shocked his girlfriend with a taser gun.

For Assistant Public Defender Jake Polverini, it was his fourth acquittal in the past nine months without a guilty verdict.

“The state did not have enough evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “They had no evidence, no taser and no photographs of perceived injuries.”

Polverini told the jury the case developed into a he-said-she-said situation.

“The accuser is a cheater and a liar,” he said. “This case was based on her credibility.”

Police arrested Hunter on April 16, 2013 after responding to a call regarding a domestic situation at 539 Fulton Street. They charged him with domestic battery, domestic assault and on a fugitive warrant out of Belmont County. The domestic battery charge was dropped after Magistrate Joe Roxby found no probable cause for the charge.

A report said the victim claimed Hunter, her ex-boyfriend, attacked her after seeing a picture of another man on her cellphone. She claimed Hunter grabbed her by both arms and shook her and then tried to stun her with a taser gun on her neck, leg and back.

Polverini said he was happy with the verdict because it is the public defender’s job to help people who cannot afford their own legal counsel.

“Our job is to protect those people’s rights,” he said.

Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Gail Kahle, who brought the case for the state, said he accepts the verdict as just.