By Jeff Lehr
A Jasper County jury deliberated 23 minutes Tuesday before convicting a Joplin man of an assault on his girlfriend two years ago.
Curtis J. Downton, 54, was found guilty of second-degree domestic assault of Catherine Welch, 39, in a single-day trial in Jasper County Circuit Court.
Welch suffered injuries to her head, neck, arms, hands and chest when Downton attacked her on March 3, 2010, inside an apartment at 1707 Campbell Parkway in Joplin.
Police said at the time that he struck her with a closed fist several times, slammed her head against the wall repeatedly, kicked her and choked her with a cane. The striking of her head against the wall reportedly caused her to lose consciousness at one point.
A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case stated that he also stomped on her chest while she was on the floor.
The assault reportedly lasted close to three hours during which the defendant would not allow Welch to leave the apartment. He reportedly threatened to kill her and “skin her alive” in front of her daughter if she reported the assault to police.
The defendant had been in a relationship with Welch for about a year at the time of the assault, according to the affidavit.
Downton was acquitted about four years ago of a felony assault charge filed in 2006, involving an alleged attack of a man at a home in the 700 block of South Indiana Avenue.
The victim in that case alleged that Downton had come to his home wanting to spend the night and had remained there against his wishes. He told police that in the middle of the night, Downton attacked him in his bed, hitting him with a fist in which he held a knife.
Circuit Judge David Dally delayed setting a sentencing hearing for Curtis Downton, who remanded into the custody of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department after the trial.