Memorial Day weekend yields several battery arrests

By: 
Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Holiday weekends are usually busy times for law enforcement. Where there’s celebrations, there’s often drinking and police are prepared for drunken driving and possible public intoxication or disorderly conduct. However, this weekend yielded multiple battery arrests — at least three in as many days and another, Jason Vest, 21, Scottsburg, in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

Stepson saves stepmom from being beaten

Michael Brewer, 52, Salem, was booked into the Washington County Jail on Friday, just after 7 p.m. on charges of battery committed with a deadly weapon and domestic battery.

Washington County Deputies Matt Hein, Tory Hildreth, Derrick Bennett and Troy Earhart responded to a home on North Rush Creek Road following reports of a domestic battery.

Officers arrived to find a male subject who told officers his father, Michael Brewer, had battered him and his stepmother, who had fled the home and was hiding in the woods behind a neighbor’s house.

Officers found Brewer in the fenced-in yard behind the house and Hildreth and Earhart spoke with him about the incident while the other officers stayed with the young man and his stepmother, who had left the woods to join them. They went inside to talk.

The young man told officers Brewer had asked his stepmother to go into their bedroom for a private conversation and she had agreed. He said he heard Brewer become agitated and start yelling at her and then grab her by the hair and throw her into the hallway area. When he started punching her, Brewer’s son got up to help her. He shoved Brewer off of her and she was able to get away, into the kitchen and then outside. Brewer then came at his son with a pocket knife and began punching him in the back of the head with something hard, but the young man said he didn’t know if Brewer had opened the knife or not. There were cuts on the back of his head, consistent with the story. He shoved Brewer away again and got out of the house.

The young man had other scrape marks of his arms, chest and back from the incident. His stepmother had a cut on the back of her left arm and a scrape to her left shin, both of which were bleeding, and a scrape mark on her left shoulder that was not bleeding, all from the incident. The young man also had an injury to his finger.

Officers found two folding pocket knives on Brewer. He told officers he and his wife had gotten into an argument in the hall and that his son charged toward him and his wife, pushed her out of the way and began fighting Brewer. He said he didn’t know why his son would fight him, as he told officers nothing physical was going on between him and his wife. He said he and his son were just grappling with each other, never striking each other and the only injury he receives was on a finger of his right hand.

He was arrested on preliminary charges of domestic battery and battery with a deadly weapon.

He 'got in her face'

The next day, Brandon Gofourth, 32, Salem, was arrested for domestic battery as well, striking his mother in the chest with his forearm and elbow during an argument over whether she would drive him to work as he didn’t have a license.

The victim told Deputies Abigail Powers, Matt Hein and Ryan Larrimore the incident happened around 12:45 p.m. As they argued about transportation, she said Gofourth became increasingly angry and “got in her face.” She said immediately after he hit her, she went to the end of the driveway and called 911. Powers said in her report she could see the skin of her chest to be red and irritated.

Hein and Larrimore went inside and found Gofourth in his bedroom and he claimed to have been sleeping for the past two hours. He told officers he had been arguing with his mother and could not believe she had called the police.

Gofourth was arrested for domestic battery and brought to the Washington County Detention Center.

‘He’s gone crazy!’

Michael Hortenberry, 28, Salem, was arrested for the battery and strangulation of the mother of his infant child.

Just after 10:15 a.m., on Sunday, May 27, Washington County Deputies Ryan Larrimore and Abby Powers were sent to East State Road 160 for a possible domestic dispute. When they arrived at the home, Larrimore said in his report, he saw a woman sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, crying, and a man walk away from the driveway and enter the home. He asked the woman if she was OK and she said, “He’s gone crazy!” She said her child’s father, Hortenberry, had choked her and thrown her to the floor.

Larrimore entered the residence and saw Hortenberry walk out of a room and into the hallway, apparently brushing his teeth. Larrimore said Hortenberry told him he was “tired of her tearing his s*** up,” and asked if he could finish brushing his teeth before he went to jail. Larrimore placed him in handcuffs and into his patrol vehicle.

The victim told officers she had spent the night with Hortenberry and had gotten into an argument about property that morning. She said, while they were arguing, she placed her child into his carseat and was getting ready to leave. She realized she had forgotten something and went back in to get it and that’s when she said Hortenberry grabbed her throat with both hands, pushed her back and slammed the back of her head onto the floor. Larrimore said in his report the victim said she was experiencing partial hearing loss and swelling to the back of her head, but refused an ambulance at the scene. Larrimore said he could feel the swelling.

The victim said when she was able to get up, she went to her car and called her mother and her mother called 911.

Hortenberry was booked at the Washington County Detention Center for the level 6 felonies of domestic battery and strangulation.

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