A Franklin County jury deliberated for less than an hour yesterday before acquitting a former caregiver of assaulting a developmentally disabled man in a West Side adult day-care program. The jury found Victor Gary-Cobb, 28, not guilty of the only charge against him - a felony count of assault - after a three-day trial in Common Pleas Court.
A Franklin County jury deliberated for less than an hour yesterday before acquitting a former caregiver of assaulting a developmentally disabled man in a West Side adult day-care program.
The jury found Victor Gary-Cobb, 28, not guilty of the only charge against him — a felony count of assault — after a three-day trial in Common Pleas Court.
“The state did not prove its case, that (Gary-Cobb) intended to cause harm,” said Michelle Hawk of Hilliard, the jury foreperson, after the jurors were dismissed. “We could not see ruining a person’s life when the evidence was not there.
“A lot of us were wondering how did this even get this far.”
Gary-Cobb, of Baccarat Drive on the Far West Side, declined to comment on the verdict. He was fired from his job with Goodwill Columbus on the day of the incident last summer.
The jurors heard conflicting testimony about what happened on July 20 when Gary-Cobb, working as a training specialist, grappled with Tim Hanley, a 34-year-old client, at the Goodwill work and behavior center at 890 N. Hague Ave.
Hanley became combative when he was told that he couldn’t have more coffee and struck Gary-Cobb in the back. A co-worker testified that he separated the two but became distracted by another client who fell during the scuffle. He then heard a “thump” that sounded like someone being struck and saw Gary-Cobb on top of Hanley. A nurse found a red mark on Hanley’s chest.
Gary-Cobb testified that he was trying to restrain Hanley and placed an open hand on Hanley’s chest to fend him off.
Because Hanley qualifies as a “functionally impaired person” and was under Gary-Cobb’s care, what would have been a misdemeanor assault charge was enhanced to a fourth-degree felony.
Assistant Prosecutor John Graceffo said in closing arguments that Gary-Cobb knowingly attempted to cause physical harm with an “open-handed strike to the chest.”
Defense attorney John Rutan told jurors that the case “should be so clear you don’t have to think about it.”
“Was he trying to assault this guy? Not even close.”