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Jurors to decide fate of man and wife

STE. GENEVIEVE — Jurors are expected to decide today whether a husband and wife are guilty of assaulting a man.

Linda Dawson, 56, and Doug Dawson, 52, of Irondale, are charged with the Class B felony of first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon. They were charged in Washington County but the case is being heard before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte in Ste. Genevieve County on a change of venue.

On Monday, Howard Warren told jurors that on the morning of July 2, 2007, he rode his ATV to a friend’s house a mile or two from his Irondale home on Route U but his friend wasn’t home. He said he then stopped to talk to a neighbor.

He said while he was talking to the neighbor at the end of a the neighbor’s driveway, the Dawsons showed up and assaulted him with an ax handle. He said Linda Dawson also hit him with a rock and threatened to shoot him with his own black powder rifle, which was tied to his ATV. He said she did not pick up the gun.

Warren said when she showed up, he tried to pull away on his ATV but got pinned against the fence. He said Doug Dawson pulled into the driveway in a car, which struck his neighbor’s utility pole.

He said he had not threatened them with his gun and he was not sure if he was able to get a punch in. He said was scared to death.

He said as a result of the assault, he had whelps all over his body and a concussion. He said he called 911 after he got home and then went to the emergency room for treatment.

Warren recalled only a few times he had encountered his neighbors, the Dawsons. He said none of the prior encounters involved a disturbance. He said one time, the couple asked him and others to leave the swimming hole Warren frequented because they said it was private property. He does not remember if he was at the swimming hole the day before.

The Dawsons’ attorney, Carl Kinsky, pointed out discrepancies in Warren’s statements about his previous encounters with the Dawsons.

Warren admitted to being placed on probation for separate incidents including one misdemeanor assault but could not recall another instance when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.

Two deputies testified about the incident. Cpl. Katrina Bursley testified she talked to Warren at his home before he went to the emergency room. She said he had a bump on the top right side of his head, a bruise on his left elbow and a laceration on his left hand. She said she did not take pictures because she did not have a camera with her at the time.

After meeting with Warren, she met then-Lt. Charles Lalumondiere at the scene of the alleged assault. She said they found a license plate and debris from a vehicle around a utility pole. She said they took pictures but Lt. Lalumondiere failed to submit the photographs into evidence so they are lost.

She said they were unable to talk to Warren’s neighbor that day. They did go to the Dawsons’ house but they appeared not to be home. Police impounded a car which had damage to the front and was missing a license plate. She said there was also an ax handle in the back seat.

She said she called the prosecutor about getting a search warrant to search the car. She said the prosecutor told her he was on vacation the next two weeks and asked her to wait. She said a supervisor released the car to the Dawsons before they were able to seize the contents of the vehicle as evidence. She indicated after that, they were unable to seize the ax handle.

The second day of trial is expected to begin at 9 a.m. today with testimony from additional witnesses for the state.

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