COURT Man says he did not assault ex-girlfriend
The defendant said the woman took his car and money.
YOUNGSTOWN -- John J. Hohvart took the stand in his own defense to testify he never assaulted his ex-girlfriend and that she was already beaten up when he saw her in the fall.
Hohvart, 34, of Niles-Carver Road, Mineral Ridge, is on trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on charges of felonious assault and abduction.
He could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted on both charges and Judge James C. Evans rules the time should run consecutively.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old ex-girlfriend who lives in Salem identified Hohvart as the man who beat and abducted her on Oct. 3, 2004.
She testified the two argued over her ending their relationship. She said Hohvart became violent, choked her to the point she lost consciousness, slammed her face several times into the passenger-side window and also beat her with his fists and elbow. She said the beating took place as Hohvart drove her around several township roads.
She also testified that Hohvart said he'd "cut her up into little pieces and no one would ever find her." She was so afraid she couldn't get away, she said.
Hohvart testified Thursday under direct examination from his lawyer Ted Macejko Jr. that he never touched the woman that night.
He said a friend from Niles picked him up at his apartment, and the two of them went out for a night of drinking and shooting pool on Oct. 2. The woman stayed at Hohvart's apartment, he said.
Hohvart said his friend became too drunk to drive, so Hohvart drove his friend's van back to Hohvart's apartment to get the woman so she could use Hohvart's car to follow them to the friend's house. That was in the early-morning hours of Oct. 3, he said.
He said his car, the woman and some money he had in his apartment were missing. He then took his friend home, helped him inside, and started walking back to his apartment.
As he was walking, he noticed the woman driving his car, he said. She stopped, got out, and went to the passenger side. Hohvart told the jury he noticed the woman's face was swollen, she had bruises on her eyes, scratches on her face, and her hair was mangled.
He said he didn't ask about the injuries. He gave her the "cold shoulder" because he was still mad that she had taken his car and he suspected taken his money. He later offered to take her back to Salem.
Under cross-examination from Dawn Krueger, an assistant county prosecutor, Hohvart said that though he noticed the woman's injuries, he still proceeded to take her to a fast-food restaurant and not to the hospital.
He also told Krueger he was still upset with the victim and "really didn't care who had beat her up."
Krueger said she found that strange behavior for a man who had professed his love for the woman.
The woman had testified there was blood on the passenger seat caused by the attack, and scientific tests performed on the car's interior showed blood traces.
But Hohvart told Krueger he saw no blood on his car's interior.
Hohvart told Macejko that he and the woman had dinner on her birthday on Oct. 17 at a Warren restaurant, and he showed pictures taken with his cell-phone camera to prove she was with him that night.
The woman has denied she was with Hohvart on her birthday.