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Panel’s concerns postpone assault trial in Stafford
BY KEITH EPPS
An assault trial in which the victim is expected to testify for her alleged attacker was postponed Tuesday when too many prospective jurors indicated that they couldn’t be impartial.
Theodore Peyton, 47, of Colonial Beach is charged with felony domestic assault and battery in connection with a March 3 incident in Stafford County involving the mother of his child.
Peyton was supposed to have a jury trial in Stafford Circuit Court, but Judge J. Martin Bass had to declare a mistrial because too many would-be jurors were eliminated during pre-trial questioning.
In response to questions from prosecutor Andrea McCauley, many of the jurors indicated they were troubled by the fact that the victim was not going to testify against Peyton and that she kept going back to him after at least two prior assaults.
McCauley, defense attorney Bruce Strickland and Bass agreed that 17 of the 34 potential jurors should be deemed unsuitable to hear the case.
Since at least 20 eligible jurors are needed before the final 12-member panel is selected, Bass had no choice but to declare a mistrial. A new trial date was set for Dec. 12.
According to police reports, Katrina Cavender ran into the Sheetz in Washington Square in southern Stafford on March 3 with Peyton in pursuit.
A clerk told police that the man was yelling at the woman and the woman was yelling for someone to call 911. Both were intoxicated, and the man also chased the woman into traffic, according to the police report.
The couple had left the store by the time Deputy Jeremiah Rakoczy responded, but they didn’t get far, and Rakoczy saw the man hit the woman in the head.
The clerks had seen the man grabbing and pushing the woman earlier.
Rakoczy’s investigation showed that the altercation had started earlier in King George County and somehow ended up in Stafford.
McCauley said Cavender was cooperative with police that night, but later told authorities she did not want Peyton prosecuted and she would not cooperate.
McCauley decided to prosecute anyway, and Peyton, whose long criminal record includes two assault convictions last year involving Cavender, has been in jail without bond since his arrest.
Cavender also is in jail, serving a one-year sentence for a probation violation in King George.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404