By Naomi Klouda
• Felony kidnapping reduced to assault
In sentencing a Homer man convicted on 32 separate crimes over the past few decades, Judge Charles Huguelet expressed concern the man had escaped spending enough time in jail through the years.
William Daugherty, 48, was sentenced on two convictions of fourth-degree assault, merged as one count, Monday afternoon by the Superior Court Judge. A jury had found Daugherty not guilty on felony kidnapping, assault and weapons misconduct in March. The week-long trial featured the case of an 18-year-old woman who said that last July she was held against her will in a truck driven by Daugherty at high speeds going up West Hill Road. A gun he reportedly used to threaten the girl was never found and produced as evidence.
Daugherty has been jailed at Wildwood for the past eight months. The maximum sentence allowed by state statute for misdemeanor assault is 12 months. Judge Huguelet gave that maximum. This means Daugherty will shortly be free to go, once 171 days for good behavior are factored with the 235 days already served.
Prosecuting attorney Angela Garay asked the judge to find Daugherty a “worst offender” who held unlikely chances for rehabilitation in light of the previous convictions. Three convictions involved domestic violence incidents or crimes against young women victims. Two were felony counts, several for eluding police, escape, theft and assault.
“We would ask the judge to reflect community condemnation for Mr. Daugherty’s actions,” Garay said.
“Your prior record is pretty horrible,” Hugelet said. “I don’t know why you haven’t served more time in the past for these crimes.”
Three girls had testified at the most recent trial.
“These girls look more like babysitters than girlfriends. It’s not against the law, but it’s not something that anyone would have comfort in,” the judge told Daugherty. “Especially the parent of a teenage girl – to have friends and girlfriends of high school age makes it seem you have arrested development trouble, and adding in the violence makes this a very difficult case.”
He expressed the hope Daugherty would learn from the experience because he is sure “the community is going to look at you cautiously and for good reason.”
Defense attorney, Public Defender Bill Taylor, said Daugherty has been held in jail without bail at the Wildwood Pretrial facility since last July.
“Being held at the pretrial facility and going through the stress of trial was significant punishment,” Taylor argued.
He noted that Daugherty completed an anger management program at Wildwood.
Daugherty will be eligible to leave the facility in a few days, depending on calculations for time served.
The misdemeanor assault convictions stem from an event on July 6, 2012.
A 13-person jury heard the events leading up to the alleged kidnapping. Prosecuting Attorney Garay put the victim on the stand, where she answered questions for at least two hours.
At about 6 p.m. on July 6, she agreed to let him pick her up at a nearby house so that she could obtain her possessions Daugherty placed in storage.
The next hour involved Daugherty driving at erratic speeds, refusing to drop her off at her uncle’s work, and refusing to let the woman out of the vehicle anywhere from Pioneer Avenue to West Hill. In frantic text and phone messages to her uncle, the woman asked for help.
The uncle alerted 911 after the first phone call, telling the dispatcher what he could of the location. He was headed up West Hill to the water Reservoir but didn’t know exactly where that was. Homer Police Sgt. David Shealy was able to get to the area first. He found the victim battered, distraught and dirty.
Daugherty had left when he found the police were on their way, the uncle said.
The girl had a large knot on her head, a cut on her eye brow, and numerous bruises. She was relocated to a protective location in the state’s victim-witness program.
The jury was not allowed to hear certain evidence in the case, including Daugherty’s previous court record on the grounds it could prejudice them. A similar case in May 2005 resulted in Daugherty being charged with first degree burglary and assault after reportedly breaking into a woman’s home. He also was charged with first-degree stalking. In June 2005, he was charged with third-degree misconduct and third-degree assault in another incident. All charges from both incidents were handled in one case as a plea agreement. He was convicted of violating a protective order.
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