By Jeff Lehr
A 37-year-old Jasper woman has been ordered to stand trial for an alleged felony assault on another woman who was her friend until the defendant purportedly engaged in a sexual act with her fiance.
Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland ordered Shawntrell M. Dorris bound over for trial on a charge of second-degree assault following a preliminary hearing Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court. The judge set April 30 for the defendant’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court.
Dorris is accused of causing serious injury to Margaret Budd, also of Jasper, in a fight at the Jasper Tavern on Dec. 30.
Budd testified at the hearing that she had known Dorris for two or three years and that they had been friends before she learned that Dorris and Budd’s fiance had a sexual encounter a few months ago in a cemetery. That put an end to the friendship and apparently an end to any wedding plans since Budd referred to him as her “ex-fiance” throughout the hearing.
Then the night before New Year’s Eve, the two women ran into each other at the Jasper Tavern, and Dorris started getting mouthy, Budd testified. She said that she had gone to the bar alone but ran into her ex-husband and sister and was talking to them when Dorris entered with a male friend.
Budd said Dorris challenged her to a fight, demanding that she step outside and “settle this.” Before they even got out the door, the defendant hit her, she said.
“She hit me in the temple with a metal device of some sort,” Budd said.
She said the man in Dorris’ company then began stomping on her and two other people joined in, kicking her in her side as she lay on the ground.
Budd told the court that she suffered a number of injuries that resulted in more than $10,000 worth of medical bills, including an impairment of her vision requiring corrective lenses. She said she also has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety issues and panic attacks in the aftermath of the assault.
Defense attorney Jared Stilley asked Budd how much she had been drinking prior to the fight, and she said she’d had just one beer. She said the fight took place just shortly after she got to the bar. She acknowledged that the blows she received have affected her memory of the night to some extent.
“Bits of it are hazy,” she said. “But I know exactly what happened and what was being said while I was down on the ground.”
A probable-cause affidavit filed by the Jasper police officer who investigated the assault alleges that Shawntrell Dorris struck Margaret Budd with a phone charger and with her fists.