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Judge denies acquittal in assault trial despite recanting victim

State rests case against Jesse H. Boone, 30, on Thursday

Posted: October 5, 2013 - 9:48pm  |  Updated: October 6, 2013 - 12:12am
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Jesse H. Boone sits with Assistant Public Defender Grace Lee, left, and paralegal Thea Howard, right, during his trial on domestic violence charges in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday. Boone is facing four counts of felony assault for allegedly choking his live-in girlfriend.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Jesse H. Boone sits with Assistant Public Defender Grace Lee, left, and paralegal Thea Howard, right, during his trial on domestic violence charges in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday. Boone is facing four counts of felony assault for allegedly choking his live-in girlfriend.

A Juneau Superior Court judge on Thursday denied a defense motion to dismiss the charges against a defendant accused of assaulting his girlfriend, despite a recanting victim.

Judge Philip Pallenberg ruled that it will be up to the jury to decide what to make of the alleged victim’s split testimony.

The alleged victim testified on direct examination that Jesse H. Boone, 30, choked her on Dec. 5 and Dec. 10, 2012. But on cross-examination, she testified she made the Dec. 5 incident up.

“The jury has to sort that out,” Pallenberg said.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams rested her case after calling police officers who observed injuries on the woman after they responded to the 911 call on Dec. 10. The state is arguing that Boone came home drunk that day, threw her to the floor and strangled her again and again until she managed to escape. They said she fled to a neighbor’s house and they called 911.

Assistant Public Defender Grace Lee, on the other hand, is arguing that the victim made up the allegations to fleece money out of her client. She began presenting her case Thursday by calling record custodians with GCI and AEL&P to show that the woman continued to charge Boone’s accounts after he was jailed.

The defense also subpoenaed this reporter to testify about the demeanor of the alleged victim at one point on the first day of trial Tuesday. The woman was observed crying outside the courtroom after recanting. Prosecutors did not present any cross-examination, and instead signalled they would call a rebuttal witness at a later date.

Boone is facing two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of third-degree assault for the incidents. Those are class ‘B’ and ‘C’ felonies that can carry up to 10 and five years in prison, respectively.

The trial was suspended Friday as the judge traveled to Haines for a trial. It will resume Monday.

Pallenberg told the jurors he believes closing arguments will be held on Monday and that the case will likely go to them at that time.

Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

Editor’s Note: The Empire incorrectly stated in the caption of the photographs accompanying this article that Boone was facing two counts of felony assault. He was facing four counts. The cutlines have since been updated to reflect this change.

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