City man on trial for 2017 assault
Brown accused of striking woman, breaking her jaw
HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona man accused in December 2017 of using his fist to strike and break the jaw of his daughter’s friend is on trial this week in Blair County Court.
Ramone D. Brown, 55, sentenced in 2009 to five- to 10-years’ incarceration for cocaine delivery and possession offenses, is charged with aggravated assault, a first-degree felony, and simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor, as filed by Altoona police.
The woman whose jaw was broken, now 23 and living in Tyrone, testified Monday that she and Brown’s daughter, April Noel, were intoxicated in the early morning hours of Dec. 23, 2017, before they, along with a male companion, got into a vehicle with Brown and Brown’s girlfriend.
Noel, who testified Monday after being served with a subpoena, told the jury that she objected when Brown told them he was taking them to their cars instead of to his place.
“I told him we couldn’t drive,” Noel said.
The woman whose jaw was broken also recalled objecting.
“I told him he wasn’t being a good father to her,” she testified.
That disagreement, according to the women, happened right before Brown ordered his girlfriend, who was driving, to pull over on the 2400 block of Broad Avenue.
At the location, the women said Brown pulled their drunken male companion from the vehicle and struck him, causing him to fall to the ground. And the woman whose jaw was broken said she recalled Brown saying: “Don’t think I won’t punch you cause you’re a girl.”
“He punched me right here on the jaw,” the woman testified Monday, pointing to the lower right portion of her face. She said she fell to the ground, then got back up and that’s when Brown punched her on the left side of her jaw.
Altoona Police Detective Derrick Tardive testified that he spoke with the woman on the 2400 block of Broad Avenue, before she was transported by ambulance to UPMC Altoona Hospital.
“She was very flustered and in pain “ Tardive said. “She was trying to talk without moving her bottom jaw.”
“I was in a lot of pain,” the woman told the jury. “I clenched my teeth together. I couldn’t open my jaw.”
The woman said she was transferred from UPMC Altoona to Pittsburgh where wire and screws were used to immobilize her jaw for several weeks.
Defense attorney Thomas Will of Pittsburgh asked the woman if she recalled being able to testify during a preliminary hearing on Feb. 14, 2018. The woman said yes and indicated that she had removed the wires while the screws were still intact.
Will also asked the woman about the location of her hands when she was struck. In court on Monday, the woman said she couldn’t remember. During the
Feb. 14, 2018, preliminary hearing, the woman said her hands were by her side.
“You never swung your hands at him?” Will asked Monday.
“No,” was her response.
Will also questioned Noel about the assistance she later provided to police, by directing them to where Brown lived. And once Brown was taken into custody, Will asked Noel if she stole money from her father’s empty residence.
Noel acknowledged the theft and said she took $3,000 from Brown’s residence because she was angry with him for what he had done. She also said she tried to give the money back. As for the theft charge, she said she is addressing it through the court’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program.
Assistant District Attorney Katelyn Hoover, when presenting an opening statement, asked the jurors to keep their focus on the jaw-striking incident.
Will reminded the jury that his client has the right to remain silent and intends to do so. He also advised them that the difference between aggravated assault and simple assault is the level of injury.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.