Man not guilty in assault case

A jury found a Coupeville man not guilty of felony assault in a trial last week at Island County Superior Court.

After a trial that lasted more than two days, the jurors returned a verdict clearing 25-year-old Martin Cole, Jr. of second-degree assault.

Cole was accused of beating a man at a Central Whidbey home, breaking his nose and his jaw, court documents state. The police report stated that the man tried to intervene when Cole was being aggressive toward his girlfriend.

Cole’s attorney, Charles Hamilton of Seattle, had little to say about the trial, beyond the fact that his client is obviously pleased.

“It’s a fine and appropriate verdict. I think the jury worked hard at it,” he said. “Mr. Cole is glad it’s over, needless to say.”

On the other hand, Deputy Prosecutor Colleen Kenimond said she was surprised and disappointed by the verdict. She got the chance to speak to the jurors after the verdict was read.

“It appeared to me that their verdict surrounded reasonable doubt,” she said, “even though the defense put on a self-defense case.”

In addition to the assault charge, prosecutors originally charged Cole with kidnapping in the second degree for allegedly holding his girlfriend against her will.

Kenimond said she asked the judge to dismiss the kidnapping charge after the woman recanted. The woman was not cooperative with the prosecution, Kenimond said, and the state could not locate her to subpoena her to testify in the assault trial.

The investigative report by Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Durley states that the woman originally claimed that Cole pointed a handgun at her face and demanded that she park in the grocery store parking lot in Coupeville, Durley wrote.

Cole went to the woman’s home, fell asleep and acted “every aggressive” in the morning, Durley wrote. The woman’s friend, the alleged victim, tried to make Cole leave the home. Cole was accused of hitting the man, knocking him to the ground, and stomping on his face, Durley wrote.

A doctor at Whidbey General Hospital found that the man’s jaw was fractured in two places and he had a broken nose. He had to undergo surgery to repair the fractured jaw, according to court documents.

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