Bobbie Friend testified Wednesday that husband Kevin Maggard got upset with her two years ago about a text message and head-butted her in the face, breaking her nose, splitting her lip and giving her a black eye.
The trial of Maggard, 32, of Webb City, on a charge of first-degree domestic assault got underway Wednesday afternoon in Jasper County Circuit Court after the selection of a jury of nine men and three women.
Friend, whose divorce from Maggard remains pending in court, told jurors she woke the defendant up for work as usual when she got off her shift the morning of Jan. 30, 2019. They had been in a relationship for about four years but had been married less than a year at the time.
He got mad when he came back into their bedroom that morning, noticed she was texting someone, grabbed the phone from her and saw that she was in communication with another man.
Friend told jurors under direct examination by Assistant Prosecutor Taylor Haas that she and a male co-worker were simply messaging each other about work. She denied having an affair with anyone. But Maggard apparently suspected otherwise and hit her in the head with the phone and then head-butted her moments later on a staircase of their home, she said.
She acknowledged having pulled a gun on him after each blow as a way to prevent any further assault and having then gone to sleep and back to work that night. She did not seek treatment for her injuries until the following morning when she went to an urgent care clinic and was sent on to a hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken nose.
Her injuries required both surgery and a root canal, she told the jury.
Defense attorney Jared Stilley said during opening statements that his client was acting out of fear for his own life when he head-butted his wife, who had just pulled a loaded .38-caliber handgun on him.
Stilley also questioned if her injuries were serious enough to meet the legal requirement for a charge of first-degree domestic assault, referring to her broken nose as “a very subtle hairline fracture.” He asserted that some evidence her injuries were not that serious can be deduced from her going to sleep in the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault and then completing an entire shift of work before seeking any medical treatment.
During cross-examination of Friend, Stilley questioned her about having said in a pretrial deposition that her husband hit her with the phone because she woke him up and not because of any text messages. Stilley wanted to know which explanation she was giving jurors Wednesday.
“If I remember correctly, it was after he had seen the text messages,” she replied.
In presenting the state’s case, Haas introduced several text and Facebook messages and emails that the defendant sent his wife after she left their house the following day and did not return.
At several points in those generally apologetic communications, the defendant appears to have been acknowledging wrongdoing on his part.
In one, he stated: “Words will never take back what I’ve said and done.” In another: “I never wanted to hurt you. I freaked out.”