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Convicted felon acquitted of first-degree assault

Prosecution witnesses gave differing versions of what happened in incident

January 13, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A convicted felon being tried on charges he pointed a shotgun at a group of people last summer was acquitted Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

"The state's evidence is clearly inconsistent in a number of significant ways," Judge John H. McDowell said in granting the motion for acquittal.

Testimony from prosecution witnesses could have been interpreted that Kristopher M. Stull, 28, of 19060 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, was acting in self-defense when two carloads of people arrived at his house after he was assaulted at a party, McDowell said.

Stull's trial on three counts of first-degree assault began Thursday with prosecution witnesses giving differing versions of what happened on July 31, 2010.

On that night, Stull's former fiancee, Rebecca Bainbridge, invited him to her father's birthday party, she testified.

Shortly after arriving, he got into a dispute with another guest and was punched in the face, according to the testimony of Rebecca's father, Jeffrey Bainbridge. That happened after Stull took off his shirt and guests found his tattoos "intimidating," Bainbridge testified.

Stull left the party on his moped and later called Rebecca, telling her to come get her belongings from his house, Jeffrey Bainbridge said. Jeffrey and Rebecca Bainbridge and several other people got into two vehicles and went to Stull's house, he testified.

The Bainbridges and Marcus Weaver went to the kitchen window of Stull's house and asked for her belongings, Jeffrey Bainbridge testified. Stull came to the window and pointed a shotgun in their direction, he testified.

Weaver testified they were "yelling" at Stull that they only wanted the belongings and were not there to hurt him.

"Yes and no .... I knew Kris wouldn't hurt me," Rebecca Bainbridge testified, when Assistant State's Attorney Christopher McCormack asked her if she was fearful when Stull pointed the shotgun.

Contradicting her father's testimony, Rebecca Bainbridge said in court that she discussed her testimony with her father a few days earlier.

"He wasn't too happy .... He thinks I'm going to get back with Kris," she testified.

Assistant Public Defender Jerome Joyce asked her about a letter she sent to his office a week after the incident. In it, she wrote that people at the party were drinking, that the guest struck Stull first, knocking him unconscious, but Stull did not fight back.

The man who struck Stull had someone scratch his neck so that it would appear Stull hit him first, Rebecca Bainbridge testified.

In asking for the motion of acquittal, Joyce told McDowell that Stull was the real victim.

Stull, who has been in jail since the incident, did not leave the courthouse a free man. He has an upcoming hearing for allegedly violating probation on a 2005 robbery conviction, McCormack said after the trial.

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