Two versions of what occurred in a home dispute in Barnesville last November were given a jury in a trial held Wednesday in Schuylkill County court and the panel ruled in favor of the victim. Judge Jacqueline Russell deferred sentence to a later date.
Ricky C. Nelson, 33, of 103 N. Lehigh St., Tamaqua, was found guilty of charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and simple assault committed against Cathy Russell, of 66 Pine Creek Drive, Barnesville, on the early morning hours of Nov. 14, 2010.
Russell testified on Nov. 13 she and Nelson had a argument and she called 9-1-1. Police arrived and removed Nelson from the premises and told him not to come back. But he did, early on the morning of Nov. 14.
She testified when he returned and started pounding on the locked and barricaded front door she became terrified and warned him to stay away claiming she had a gun and called 9-1-1. She was on the phone with the communications center when Nelson broke through the door and accosted her. A shot was fired but didn't hit anyone. Russell told the jury she was beaten and choked and needed medical attention.
Nelson had a different version. He told the jury he had been living with Russell for six years in a boy friend-girlfriend relationship and on Nov. 13, took her to a family gathering at the Elks Club in Tamaqua. They argued as to who would drive home. Nelson said she wanted him to drive her car but he claimed he had a few drinks so he got his nephew to drive them home. At the home she continued arguing and first called 9-1-1 and police arrived and he was escorted out and told not to came back.
Nelson claimed the Barnesville home was his place of residence and after having a few beers with his brother in Tamaqua got a ride back to Barnesville from a friend.
When he arrived he found the door locked and claimed he broke the door down because the key broke into the lock. He claimed he had no intention of hurting Russell but when he saw the gun he went into a self defense stage.
He said he grabbed for the gun and it went off. He claimed her finger was on the trigger and he felt the bullet whistle past his head. They wrestled to the ground, he got up and she reached for the gun on the floor and that was when he became angry and struck her. He admitted he was drunk.