THAYER -- Municipal Judge Jack O. Edwards found Thayer businessman Bob Crase not guilty of assault April 3 in Thayer Municipal Court.
Thayer Municipal Clerk Missy Webber announced the ruling after her office received word from the judge's office Monday morning.
In his ruling, Judge Edwards said he found that Crase and Thayer Mayor Allen Deckard had quarreled for some time prior to April 12, 2005, when the alleged assault occurred. The judge said he understood the quarrel to be over the way city funds were spent. He said Crase was pushing the city to spend more on economic development for the city and the mayor did not agree.
Judge Edwards said he found K-95 News Director Mike Robertson the only witness to the events that evening who had no personal interest in the outcome of the trial.
Robinson testified at the March 28 trial that Crase gave the mayor two or three pats on the shoulder as the mayor was opening the door to City Hall. He testified that the pats were not forceful.
Crase was represented at the trial by Daniel T. Moore and Deckard was represented by Thayer City Attorney Ray Lee Caskey. Judge Edwards said after the trial he would rule on the charge that Crase assaulted the mayor in two or three days.
The assault charge against Crase stated that the defendant violated city ordinance 73.300 by hitting Deckard on the shoulder, forcefully turning him around. Deckard filed the charges against Crase April 13, 2005.
Crase said, "I knew I was not guilty before it (the trial) started. This is just another example of the mayor and the prosecutor abusing the system and how it is supposed to work."
"It's bad when you cannot go to City Hall to express an opinion without someone beating on you," Crase said.
Mayor Deckard said, "I was disappointed. The fact is, it was his word against mine. Mike Robertson did say he turned me around."
The mayor said that this is not the first time Crase has been in court for assault.
"I am highly disappointed and afraid one day he (Crase) is going to hurt someone real bad or something is going to happen to him because he put his hands on someone else," Deckard said.
"I thought we had laws that said people could not put their hands on other people. Apparently this judge thinks different," Deckard said.
Crase said he had filled out a report against Deckard two or three days following the incident at City Hall. "I went to the Thayer Police Station and filled out a report. I told them (the police) the mayor pushed me down when I wasn't looking," Crase said. He added that he was never contacted about the charges he filed against the mayor.