Man accused of beating girlfriend stands trial
LaGRANGE — The fate of Eddie James Huguley, 42, rested in the hands of a jury late Thursday afternoon inside a Troup County Superior Courtroom.
Huguley was charged with three counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
According to Troup County Assistant District Attorney Brett Adams, Huguley severely beat his then-girlfriend, Nikel Walker, with a shotgun, hammer and with his feet inside a home in the 100 block of McGee Street on Feb. 19.
Adams stated Huguley beat the victim with such force, the shotgun broke apart during the incident.
During his closing argument, Adams showed pictures of the crime scene and the Walker to the jurors.
“The state presented many puzzle pieces … such as the picture of the gun, with blood on it,” Adams stated. “Here’s a picture of the broken pieces of the gun … here is the hammer he used to beat her.”
Huguley allegedly kicked Walker as well before ordering her to strip naked and get into bed, said Adams.
Pieces of the shotgun were found inside the home on McGee Street, Adams said. LaGrange police also discovered the hammer underneath a bed.
The prosecutor then held up graphic photos of the victim’s injuries, which included a broken orbital bone, scalp lacerations and several round bruises all over her body.
Dr. Marissa Fiore, a diagnostic radiologist at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, read the victim’s CT scans in the emergency room the night of the incident. She told the court Walker had several hematomas on her scalp and multiple severe fractures in her face, especially around her eye.
Adams displayed pictures of the bed and clothing also found inside the McGee Street home that were soaked in blood.
“Each one is telling its own story,” Adams said referring to the photos in his hand. “The story being told to you is from these pictures of the blood and bruises and injuries on the victim.”
The Assistant District Attorney portrayed the relationship between Huguley and the victim as volatile. Adams told the court the woman is the victim of domestic violence who continued to return to her abuser.
Defense Attorney Jeff Shattuck disagreed. He told the jury the state made a “rush to judgment” in the case and called into question Walker’s credibility.
According to Shattuck, the victim testified to at least three other alleged violent altercations involving Huguley. Law enforcement was never called except to an alleged stabbing that took place at a home on Turner Street in January, Shattuck told the court.
“I submit to you that she (Walker) couldn’t get her story straight … when LaGrange Police Officer (Craig) Wheeler gets to the original scene, there’s no evidence,” Shattuck stated. “No blood, no knife, no damage, no scene.
“… The state wants you to believe she (Walker) is so terrified of Mr. Huguley, but on Feb. 19, she willingly leaves a house full of people and got into a car with him (Huguley),” Shattuck continued. “Miss Walker even stated on the stand he (Huguley) looked mad that night. But she still got into the car. She’s not afraid of him …. you know why? Because she (Walker) likes to fight. I even asked her that on the stand and she said, ‘Yes. When I get mad enough.”
Walker is currently on probation for simple assault and simple battery from an incident that took place in January, according to both Shattuck and Adams.
The defense also reminded the jury there was no physical evidence in the case. The shotgun and hammer, plus swabs of blood taken from the crime scene are still at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Atlanta, stated Shattuck.
The attorney also read an affidavit reportedly signed by Walker on March 8 that stated she did not wish to press charges against Huguley.
Adams fought back.
“I asked her why she signed that affidavit. She said, ‘Because I was scared,’” he countered to the jury. “A victim of domestic violence will return to their abuser again and again.
“Those bruises on the victim and that blood didn’t come out of nowhere,” Adams continued. “The radiologist testified her injuries were severe enough to mimic a severe car crash … bruises and blood cannot lie.”
Huguley displayed no emotion during most of the trial. He did not take the stand in his own defense.
The jury will continue deliberating Friday morning.