After just under three hours of deliberation, a Williams County jury found a Pioneer man not guilty on both counts of felonious assault stemming from an incident last year in an emergency room.
Ricky A. Collins, 62, had been charged with assault following an altercation between himself and an emergency room doctor at Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers in February of last year.
Collins’ defense, as well as the state, stipulated the altercation happened and that, as a result, the doctor sustained serious physical injury.
However, Collins maintained it was a case of self defense and that the emergency room doctor was the aggressor, not him.
Collins was the last witness to take the stand for the defense. He related he is bipolar for which he takes medication, though he said the condition has not caused him to be violent in the past.
He told the jury on the day of the incident, his son, who is in his 30s and has Down Syndrome, was “really bad,” screaming and having hallucinations.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Collins said.
He said the doctor seemed dismissive of Collins and his family, asking them, “What do you want me to do?”
Collins told the jury he later called the doctor a derogatory comment to one of the on-duty nurses. However, Collins said he was not angry, but ready to go home after his son calmed down sometime later.
Collins said the doctor then came back into the room to tell him his son’s blood work was good. Collins said he then told the doctor he “needs to learn how to talk to people.”
“When I said that, he slammed his fist on the table,” Collins said. “I stood up, and as soon as I stood up, he slammed me into the wall.”
Collins said the two struggled, with each holding on to the other. After a short time, the struggle spilled out into the hallway and then into another room.
While the doctor, and several hospital staff in the ER that day, testified that Collins picked the man up and threw him to the ground, Collins said the two of them fell together, with him landing on top of the doctor.
Under questioning, Collins said he couldn’t get away because he was pushed up against the wall.
The doctor had testified previously that Collins headbutted him, which he said led to his eye socket bone being broken on the left side. Collins denied ever headbutting him.
Security footage from the hallway was shown to the jury showing the two coming into the hallway before entering the other examination room but cut off as they went into that room.
Collins agreed to talk to the police that night at the hospital, and said while he believed everyone in the hospital would blame him, he wasn’t afraid to tell his side of the story.
“I feel I’m innocent, that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Collins said.
“It’s a huge risk, coming here and trusting 12 people (the jury) that you’ve never met, but he did it because he knows what happened that day,” said Collins’ attorney, Charles Bates.
Collins said he couldn’t explain how the doctor received the injuries — broken eye socket bone and several hematomas — but reiterated that he did not cause them. The doctor also suffered a broken left collarbone, likely from striking the floor.
“This is the process,” said Williams County Prosecutor Katie Zartman after the verdict. “And it was a tough case of, was it self defense? Or was it a case the doctor got hurt accidentally in the scuffle?
“I think from watching what happened, and watching Mr. and Mrs. Collins on the stand, that I hope and I believe this was an isolated incident and there was a lot of emotion involved in that,” she added.
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