Somerville tries to suppress assault video in Thirsty's caseDefense attorney claims video surveillance footage is incomplete and does not “accurately represent” an incident that took place Sept. 30 at Thirsty’s Bar in Mitchell.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
A Mitchell man’s attorney claims video surveillance footage of an alleged assault is incomplete and does not “accurately represent” an incident that took place Sept. 30 at Thirsty’s Bar in Mitchell.
Attorney Cynthia J. Ahrendt, Sioux Falls, is requesting a judge suppress video evidence showing the alleged incident.
She represents Thomas Somerville, 38, of Mitchell, who is charged with simple assault for allegedly grabbing 36-yearold North Dakota resident Clint Dreyer by the throat and shoving him to the ground inside Thirsty’s on Sept. 30.
A jury trial for the case has been scheduled in April.
On Feb. 15, Ahrendt filed a motion to suppress all evidence taken from the video surveillance system at Thirsty’s showing any interaction between Somerville and Dreyer.
Footage showing Somerville’s alleged assault of Dreyer, as well as the events immediately before and after the incident, is referenced numerous times in a police report on the incident.
In her motion, Ahrendt claims because the footage has no sound, it is incomplete and does not “accurately represent the activities and actions of the people in the bar,” including Somerville and Dreyer.
Ahrendt also claimed because “video tapes or other motion pictures” cannot be cross-examined, Somerville would be denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses if the footage were admitted into evidence.
The assault is alleged to have occurred earlier on the same night Dreyer was severely beaten by 34-year-old William Watkins, of Mitchell.
Watkins was sentenced to 13 years in prison, with five years suspended, and ordered to pay more than $650,000 in restitution on Feb. 21 for an aggravated assault conviction stemming from the attack.
The motion to suppress the footage, along with all other pretrial motions, will be heard by Magistrate Judge Patrick W. Kiner before the case goes to trial.