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Jury acquits man of assault

September 22, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer (mlaw@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - A Jefferson County Common Pleas Jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before acquitting Dennis R. McClelland, 35, of Amsterdam, of felonious assault and having a weapon under disability.

McClelland was charged with firing three shots into a car at Lake George off county Road 53, Bergholz, on June 13. He also was charged with walking up to the car and sticking a gun through the sunroof.

A Jefferson County sheriff's deputy testified that three witnesses to the shooting gave consistent statements about who fired the shots. The deputy said three shell casings and a bullet fragment were found at the scene.

The witnesses also testified before the grand jury, which returned an indictment against McClelland. But the witnesses took the stand on Thursday and gave testimony that conflicted with their statements to deputies and the county grand jury.

Defense attorney Kristopher Haught said an alibi witness testified that McClelland was riding ATVs with her in Brush Creek Township when the alleged incident occurred.

Haught said the prosecution's witnesses were "caught in lies" and making inconsistent statements, which helped the jury return with the not guilty verdict.

"The three witnesses gave different statements at different times," he said.

"The jury made the right decision. After 90 days in jail, my client was happy to go home. He was happy with the verdict and so was I," Haught said.

Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Edward Littlejohn Jr. said the witnesses gave inconsistent statements, and the prosecutor's office will be pursuing perjury charges on some of the witnesses.

 
 

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