Ex-wife says attack left her disabled; man claims he has no idea how injuries occurred
A Fulton County man was sentenced to one year in the Fulton County jail Sept. 30 after a jury found him guilty of third degree assault, a misdemeanor.
Michael F. Cooper, 52, was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine by Fulton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Weaver.
Jurors acquitted Cooper on one count of felony assault.
The charges stemmed from an altercation Cooper had with his then wife, Linda Weaver, Feb. 22, 2004, at their home on Highway 289 North near Ash Flat.
Linda Weaver said Cooper, who was in a drunken rage, attacked her, causing injuries to her hands, face and back. She said he pushed her through a wall in the couple's bathroom and beat her hands repeatedly.
"I'm disabled now," Weaver said as she showed her hands to jurors. "They'll never be the same."
Cooper offered no explanation how his wife sustained her injuries, including how she blackened both of her eyes.
"I have no idea how it happened," Cooper said of his wife's injuries. "She threw herself through the wall, I think, but I didn't see it, so I don't know."
After being thrown through the wall, Weaver said, she begged Cooper for a drink of water to wash the insulation out of her mouth.
"He wouldn't let me have a drink, so I cupped my hands and took water out of the toilet to wash my mouth and hands," Weaver said as tears rolled down her face.
As the verdict was read, Cooper was visibly pleased. The felony charge would have carried a sentence of up to 10 years in a state prison.
A gasp resonated from Weaver and a group of friends she was sitting with when the verdict was read.
"I'm a strong person and I'm going to move on with my life," Weaver said. "God has been very good to me."
Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Harrod, who represented the state in the case, was unavailable for comment after the verdict was read.
Authorities were not contacted immediately following the assault, according to the arrest affidavit.
Weaver said Cooper would not allow her to leave their house and threatened to kill her grandson and her donkey if she told law officers about the attack.
Cooper eventually allowed her to visit Dr. Don Lamoureaux to receive treatment for her injuries, she said.
During the visit, Weaver said she told Dr. Lamoureaux and a nurse about the attack. Lamoureaux and the nurse took pictures of Weavers eyes, wrists and other areas of her body that had been beaten.
Weaver left Cooper in June of 2004 after another physical attack and she said she stayed in a safe house for victims of domestic violence for six months.
Before the trial Cooper was offered a plea deal, but he refused it, Harrod said. Harrod would not divulge the details of the deal offered to Cooper.
Weaver said Cooper had physically and emotionally abused her since the two were married in October 2001.
In 2003 misdemeanor assault charges were filed against Cooper after he allegedly attacked his wife. Those charges were dropped after Weaver failed to appear in court.
On the day she was to appear in court, Weaver said, someone removed the spark plug wires from her car.
Cooper admitted that he appeared in district court that day and told the judge his wife no longer wished to pursue charges against him.
Cooper was taken from the Fulton County Courthouse and jailed in the Fulton County jail after the verdict was reached.