Shawn Long spoke on the witness stand Wednesday, testifying in his own defense during day two of his felony trial in Tyler County Circuit Court.
Disputing earlier testimony given by witnesses for the prosecution, Long blamed law enforcement officials and the alleged victim herself for his arrest on four felony charges, insinuating deputy sheriffs had a "vendetta" against him, and that Brandi George, his one-time girlfriend and accuser, was drunk and "flew off the handle" after he accused her of stealing marijuana from him.
"She wanted to smoke more pot," Long explained, "and I had it in a baggie and was breaking it up to roll a joint." Long then said he went to the bathroom, and when he returned to the other room, "two big finger scoops of pot were gone."
The altercation, according to Long, resulted from the fact that George was drunk, having been drinking all afternoon at his cousin's home in Hannibal, Ohio. He also attested they had stopped at JD's Lounge in New Martinsville on their way home, where he contended that George drank "two double shots of Jack Daniels and coke."
"She likes to slam shots of Jack," he said. He claimed George drank the two drinks in a matter of a few minutes.
Arriving at Long's home in Middlebourne around 8:30 p.m., the accusation of stealing started a quarrel between the two.
"How could I dare accuse her, she said, after all we'd been through," Long testified. "She said she was leaving. I told her she could leave, but she wasn't gonna drive."
"You can call your brother, you can call your mother, you can walk, the car's going nowhere," was Long's version of the verbal exchange.
Long alleged that Ms. George then tried to take the car keys from him, and he was holding them back from her. He then claimed George "slipped, fell with her head in the couch like an ostrich, and started screaming at me."
Long claims he withstood the verbal abuse for a while, until George began "screaming very loudly."
"I went to put my hand over her mouth. She bit the (expletive) out of me," he said.
Long then admitted he had slapped Ms. George, stating, "I slapped her with my right hand, four fingers across her left cheek." (The slap, according to testimony from prosecution witness Sistersville General Hospital ER physician John King, perforated Brandi George's eardrum).
Long then expounded on his version of the night's events, claiming he was "concerned" for Ms. George, that he had not prohibited her from leaving his residence, and that George had misinterpreted his statement about driving the car, believing that he was forcing her to stay at his residence.
"She was drunk, she was on medications, and I didn't want anything to happen to her," he explained.
Long went on to tell the court that George had finally "passed out" on his couch. At some point, Long used his cell phone to take a photo of her sleeping. His statement to the court was he took the picture because "tomorrow she's gonna feel like such an (idiot), and she looked like such an angel, lying there."
According to Long, when George woke up, she "made a beeline for the door."
"You're going to prison, (expletive)" George allegedly said as she left. "I'm not going to jail for you, you're going to prison, (expletive)", said Long, quoting George.
Long then went into a rambling explanation concerning the incident which resulted in Long and George being placed on bond after being arrested for misdemeanor battery on an officer and misdemeanor DUI in September 2008. (Long pleaded guilty to the charges).
"They (deputies) came down, no lights, driving 60 miles an hour, to get me for DUI," Long testified. The incident resulted in Long's arrest for DUI and George's arrest as well. The two were currently out of jail on bond, when the altercation at Long's home took place in February 2010.
Testifying Monday, Brandi George told a different story to the court, saying she had not been drinking, admitting to having "one beer" on the day in question.
Ms. George said they had been in Ohio at Long's cousin's house, and that Long had about "seven or eight" beers during the afternoon. She testified they had stopped and bought a twelve-pack of beer on the way back to Long's home in Middlebourne.
According to George, the argument began when Long accused her of stealing from him. "He was very heated," said Long. "I was trying to defend myself (verbally)."
"I said, no, I did not," related George, when accused by Long of stealing marijuana. She then tried to leave, attesting Long picked her up by the hair and hurled her across the room.
"He shoved me around, kept me from leaving," said George, "He drug me in the living room, shoved me on the couch, and started slapping me."
George said Long then stopped to get a beer, and she tried to use her cell phone to call for help. According to George, when Long came back, he grabbed the phone.
He told the person George called, "she's drunk, she not going anywhere," said George.
George said Long then ripped off her t-shirt and threw it in the garbage.
"I started screaming, and he started slapping me, again and again," she said. "He said, 'no one's gonna help you'."
George alleged Long covered her nose and mouth and began smothering her, saying "You'll never see your kids again." George said she bit Long on the hand to get him to quit smothering her.
According to George, Long was calling her names, and began to smother her again. She "began to black out" and urinated, at which point, Long ripped off her pants, calling her "disgusting".
George said she laid down on the couch, pretending to be asleep.
George added she eventually escaped, wearing only a hoodie, no shoes on, and ran to the neighbors.
"I asked if I could call 911," finished George.
"Why didn't you call 911 earlier (at Long's residence?)" asked Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee.
"I was afraid I'd get him (Long) in more trouble. I just wanted out. He has issues with the cops," was George's explanation.
George said she finally called 911 because "I was afraid he was going to come after me."
George, who did not originally want to press charges, claimed she was "scared of what he would do."
George did file a restraining order the following day, and went to Sistersville General Hospital's emergency room due to pain in her ear.
The ER attending physician, Dr. John King, confirmed that George had a perforated eardrum. According to George, it took "a couple months" for the ear to heal, although her hearing came back in a few weeks.
Witnesses for the prosecution who corroborated parts of George's testimony included the ER physician, Dr.John King; 911 dispatcher Paul Lemasters; neighbor Amy Braucher; and Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Huffman.
Testifying on Long's behalf were a cousin, Danny Snyder of Hannibal, Ohio, and Long's mother, Joyce Long.
The jury, consisting of nine males and three females, deliberated less than half an hour before deciding its verdict.
On three of the four felony counts, including kidnapping, malicious assault, and assault during the commission of a felony, a not guilty verdict was reached. Long was found guilty of one count, felony domestic battery (second offense) by the jury.
Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee, commenting about the outcome of the trial, said, "With Wednesday's verdict, in the last eight years the defendant has been convicted of two domestic batteries, two batteries on police officers, and driving under the influence of alcohol, as the result of two jury trials and other plea proceedings."
"It will be the State's intention to seek a sentence which appropriately addresses the defendant's unwillingness to conduct himself as a peaceful member of the community," Furbee concluded.