Assault case tossed |

Assault case tossed

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

After the decision arrived, Anthony Hackworth emphatically hugged his family, then hugged his lawyer.

Hackworth, charged with a misdemeanor assault when he brawled with a fellow dog owner earlier this year, had his case dismissed Tuesday after more than two hours of testimony by three witnesses.

Judge Jerald Lasarow dismissed the case, based on an earlier motion filed by the defense of “insufficient evidence that the defendant committed the crime,” shortly before calling a lunch recess.

Dressed in a white dress shirt and khaki pants, Hackworth said the case should have been dismissed months ago and is an example of a waste of his tax money.

On Jan. 20, Hackworth and his family were walking with their Siberian husky down Long Valley when the dog ran over to a pit bull named Dobash, owned by 46-year-old Gayne Holz.

Dobash was kicked in the ribs by Hackworth after the pit bull locked his teeth into Hackworth’s dog.

The two dog owners got into a fight that resulted in Holz being knocked down and bleeding from the head.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini argued that Hackworth used excessive force by continuing to batter an injured and unconscious Holz.

Detective Martin Hewlett, from the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, was the first witness of the morning and last for the prosecution. Hewlett did the follow-up investigation and recalled speaking to Janice Stillions, a witness of the fight and, subsequently, Hackworth’s neighbor.

Stillions, who testified Monday, said she was in a car with Thomas Mapes when they encountered the fight. She went over to Holz, who lay listless on the ground, eyes closed.

Hewlett called Stillions for a follow-up interview two days after the incident. In the interview, Hewlett said, Stillions recalled seeing Holz fall to the ground after his head snapped back from a punch by Hackworth.

While both men were on the ground, Hackworth pummeled Holz with three punches to the head, Hewlett said.

During cross-examination, Lasarow reprimanded defense attorney Richard Specchio after the attorney lashed out at Hewlett for not interviewing his client during the follow-up investigation.

Specchio called Daniel and Kimberly Stanford for his witnesses. The Huntington Beach couple were vacationing at their cabin on Long Valley when they saw the fight.

Both said Holz was conscious on the ground, flailing and grabbing at Hackworth. They said the fight ended when Holz stopped moving.

“Holz continued to flail, it looked like fighting,” Kimberly Stanford said. “(Hackworth) punched him two more times. Holz halted. (Hackworth) stood up. It looked like it was done. The storm was over.”

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