APpa 09/09 0635 Krishna Assault TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- An aggravated assault conviction aga
APpa 09/09 0635 Krishna Assault
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- An aggravated assault conviction against a man who
punched a Hare Krishna follower was upheld by an appeals court.
A two-judge panel in the Appellate Division of Superior Court on Tuesday
rejected the defendant's claim that the prosecutor failed to prove he had the
state of mind necessary to be guilty of aggravated assault.
The defendant, identified as Ronald R. Smith, punched the victim on a street
somewhere in Somerset County.
The court, citing trial testimony, said Smith "suddenly" threw a punch after
the victim, who was soliciting contributions, received a donation from Smith's
companion but did not give out a bumper sticker to Smith.
"On the basis of the evidence, the jury could reasonably conclude that
defendant punched the victim with extraordinary force, that he purposely
`blind-sided' him ... and that the blow was delivered recklessly with extreme
indifference to the value of human life," the court said.
The victim had an "enormous swelling" on the right side of his cheek and a
laceration on the back of his head, and faced a "substantial risk" of death,
the court said.
If he had not been told the victim was punched in the face, the neurosurgeon
who treated the victim would have attributed the injuries to a "baseball bat or
a tire iron, something carrying great energy," the court said.
Smith was sentenced to an indeterminate custodial term not to exceed seven
The defendant's home town and the date and exact location of the assault
were not given in the opinion. Neither the prosecutor who handled the case nor
the attorney for the defendant could be reached for comment.
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