Jury acquits man in assault case
BENNINGTON -- A domestic assault case in which the key witness and two others have been charged with perjury ended Thursday with an acquittal. The verdict came after the defense declined to call witnesses or present evidence.
Attorney James Valente, of Costello, Valente, and Gentry P.C., said the state's case against his client, Floyd Amidon, 54, of Bellows Falls, was weak. He said the jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes.
Amidon pleaded not guilty on Aug. 20 to second-degree aggravated domestic assault, and interference with access to emergency services. The interference charge was later dropped.
According to a police affidavit, Heidi Gardner, 41, of Bennington, accused Amidon of pinning her against a wall and strangling her on Aug. 17 while they two were having an argument. According to Deputy State's Attorney Jennifer Barrett, the jury was instructed to determine whether or not Gardner's finger was injured during the struggle. Barrett said Gardner testified that she was uncertain how the injury occurred.
In December, Gardner was charged with a felony count of perjury. According to the state's attorney's office, on Oct. 29 Gardner swore she was no longer in a relationship with Amidon and that she did not tell a 911 dispatcher that Amidon had assaulted her or tried to take away her cell phone. According to an investigator's affidavit, there is a recording of the 911 call in which Gardner tells the dispatcher Amidon assaulted her and tried to take her phone. Gardner admitted to lying during the deposition, according to the affidavit.
Rickey A. Amidon, 48, and his wife Tami M. Amidon, 44, both of Bellows Falls, were charged in April with felony counts of false swearing and perjury. According to court documents, both claimed under oath that Floyd Amidon called them on Aug. 17 and asked to come to their house. The pair said they could hear what sounded like someone being hit. According to an investigator's affidavit, the telephone company has no record of such a call.
The cases against Rickey Amidon, Tami Amidon, and Heidi Gardner are pending.
Floyd Amidon is facing charges for allegedly failing to disclose all of his assets on an application for a public defender. The state continues to pursue charges that Amidon called Gardner from jail 17 times when he was not allowed contact with her. The state had charged him with obstructing justice but that was dismissed by the court. Valente said he argued for the dismissal because Amidon encouraged Gardner to tell the truth, which would not be an obstruction. He said the state has appealed the dismissal.
Amidon lives in Bellows Falls under conditions of release. Valente said his client spent one month in jail before being released while the charges against him were pending.
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