By COLIN KYLER
A Clarendon man was found guilty of aggravated assault and harassment during a jury trial Thursday.
The jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes before returning the verdict on aggravated assault. Judge Gregory Hammond presided over the case and found defendant Mark Daniel Grosch, 1069 Dunham Mills Rd., guilty of the harassment charge.
Sentencing is anticipated for Nov. 4.
Counts of simple assault, disorderly conduct and criminal attempt (criminal homicide) were withdrawn prior to trial.
District Attorney Ross McKeirnan, who prosecuted the case, said Grosch used a club approximately two feet in length to strike his victim, John Hummel, on May 17. McKeirnan likened it to the clubbing of a baby seal.
To win the case, McKeirnan said he had to prove Grosch took a substantial step to attempt to cause serious bodily injury. He then began to hit a courtroom table with the weapon, saying each time the defendant struck his victim represented a substantial step taken.
Upon inspection, McKeirnan said the jurors could see the letters "MDG" on the club. Describing it as a beating stick, he said it also had blood on it.
Public Defender John Parroccini represented Grosch and emphasized the importance of every word in the charges. The jurors could not convict if the attempt was only to cause bodily injury, he said, or if the defendant showed only indifference and not extreme indifference.
All witnesses were called by the prosecution. Grosch chose not to testify.
Hummel stated he and Grosch were neighbors and got along at first. However, he said their relationship deteriorated as he tired of giving the defendant rides.
On the day of the incident, Hummel said he was 64. He got into an argument with Grosch over the phone, he said, and after hanging up he took his dog for a walk when the defendant confronted him.
While Grosch was pushing and shoving him, Hummel said he could smell alcohol on his breath. After telling him to go home, he said he turned to leave when he saw the defendant reaching into his pants.
"I asked him if he had a gun," Hummel said. "He responded he had something better."
As Grosch came up the road at him, Hummel said he held his hands up and tried to get away. However, he said he slipped and was struck between 12 and 15 times while laying on the ground before another neighbor broke up the fight.
Under cross examination, Parroccini asked if Hummel had removed his jacket during the altercation. He replied he was pretty sure the jacket had been in his hand.
Warren General Hospital Emergency Room Physician Dr. Melissa Carter testified the victim's ear was torn in half when he arrived for treatment. The ear alone required 31 stitches to repair, she said, and staples were needed for other lacerations around his head.
Parroccini asked if Hummel was life-flighted for his injuries and if he was kept overnight. Carter replied "no" to both questions.