Man acquitted of felonious assault against officer

Staff report


A jury has acquitted a Manley Avenue man of felonious assault by vehicle against a Poland Village police officer, but convicted the defendant of failure to comply with a police order.

The nine-woman, three-man jury rendered its verdict Wednesday in the case of Marcus Thomas, 28, who was charged with the two offenses stemming from an Aug. 2, 2011, traffic stop in Poland by officer Russell Beatty, son of the village police chief with the same name.

Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, who presided over the three-day trial, sentenced Thomas to a six-month jail term, but Thomas already had been jailed longer than that awaiting trial, so that sentence was included within the time he has already served.

In her closing argument, Meghan Brundege, an assistant county prosecutor, said Thomas knowingly tried to cause physical harm to the officer by hitting Beatty with the car he was driving.

She added that Thomas then fled police at a speed in excess of 100 mph.

Defense lawyer Tony Meranto called jurors’ attention to the discrepancy between Beatty’s testimony that he was knocked down by the car Thomas was driving and the testimony of another witness, who said Thomas bumped the officer, apparently unintentionally.

Meranto also noted that the officer was not injured.

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