Jury renders quick verdict in assault case against Gainesville woman
Last week an Ozark County jury took less than an hour to find Gainesville resident Misty L. Watson, 42, guilty of third-degree assault in connection with an Oct. 21, 2017, incident in which Watson was alleged to have injured Amanda Forrest by striking her in the head with a beer bottle at a Tecumseh-area apartment. The verdict was reached after a two-day jury trial July 15-16 presided over by Associate Judge Elizabeth Bock.
A sentencing advisory report was ordered from the Missouri Department of Probation and Parole, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9. Watson, who has been incarcerated since March after failing to appear for her pre-trial conference, is still being held in the Ozark County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
She was originally charged with second-degree assault and property damage when the charges were filed Dec. 8, 2017. After hearing the evidence, the jury found Watson guilty of third-degree assault instead of second-degree assault, indicating that the beer bottle used in the incident was not a “dangerous instrument.”
With only circumstantial evidence concerning damaging an SUV, Watson was found not guilty of that charge.
The state, represented by Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant, put two witnesses on the stand, Amanda Forrest, the victim in the case, and another person who was an eyewitness to the incident.
According to the press release issued by Garrabrant’s office, the pair of witnesses testified that “following a night of drinking, Watson became enraged when she was accused of taking some property. Watson threw the beer bottle at the victim’s head and then assaulted the victim with her fists. While being restrained and taken from the apartment, Watson kicked the victim in the face.”
Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputies were called and arrived on scene about 30 minutes following the assault, the press release states.
When deputies arrived at the apartment, a Chevrolet SUV parked outside the apartment, which had been in Forest’s possession, was heavily damaged. Both the front and back glass of the vehicle was broken out, and deep scratches were found along the passenger’s side of the vehicle. Witnesses reportedly told officers they did not see or hear the car being damaged, and deputies were unable to find any physical evidence linking Watson to the damaged SUV.
Forest was taken by ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She received stitches to close a wound on her forehead caused by the beer bottle and was released later that day.
Garrabrant expressed gratitude for the jurors’ service in the case and said he respected the verdict that was handed down.
“It clearly announced that the people of Ozark County will not tolerate wanton acts of violence and will not accept intoxication as an excuse,” the press release said.
Garrabrant added that he was slightly disappointed in the verdict concerning the property damage despite there being only circumstantial evidence.