Dade Magistrate Judge Joel McCormick heard preliminary evidence Wednesday in the case of a Wildwood man accused of assaulting his girlfriend with a baseball bat and beating her head against a cinder block.
Matthew Steven Wright (left) was charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment after the girlfriend during an interview at Cornerstone Medical Center, where she was being treated for her wounds, told Dade County detectives she had been beaten in Dade in a late May incident.
Detective Cyndi Thurman of the Dade County Sheriff’s Department told the judge she had interviewed the victim at a women’s shelter on May 30, a few days after the assault, following her release from the hospital. She said the woman had two black eyes, a fracture and horrific bruising at the time of the interview.
Detective Thurman said the woman had told her the beating had been spurred by Wright’s frustration when he could not induce the truck he was working on to start. She said it was at that point he pounded her head against the concrete block. Then, she said, he dragged her by the hair inside the house and assaulted her further with the baseball bat.
The woman said the incident had happened one day about noon but that she had not left the house until the afternoon of the next day, when Wright was asleep, because he had threatened her and she was afraid of him. “She said he kept an eye on her and wouldn’t let her leave,” said Detective Thurman.
The woman reported having left the house on foot, with no cellphone to call for help. A passing motorist picked her up and agreed to take her to her mother’s house in Walker County, she told police, and it was the mother who alerted police and took her to the hospital.
Detective Thurman said when she spoke to Wright about his girlfriend’s injuries he had blamed them on branches falling from a pine tree they had been cutting up in the backyard. He told Detective Thurman he had not hit his girlfriend with the bat but said she had “slept with two guys on his birthday.”
The detective obtained a warrant, searched Wright’s house and took a baseball bat into evidence. She also said she had found blood in the laundry room of the house as described by his alleged victim.
Public Defender Jennifer Hartline questioned Detective Thurman about variations in the woman’s story between her first interview in May and a second a month later. Prosecution evidence was presented by Assistant District Attorney Len Gregor.
Magistrate McCormick bound the case over for trial to Dade Superior Court.
McCormick also heard initial evidence in a methamphetamine and marijuana case at his monthly criminal court session on Wednesday, and bound that matter over to Dade Superior as well.