A 57-year-old Conway man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday for hacking off his brother's fingers with a machete in 2016.
A Faulkner County jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before it determined Timothy Craig David was guilty of first-degree domestic battery.
"The domestic violence in this case was totally out of control," Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Ferguson said. "When one family member attacks another one with a machete resulting in the loss of three fingers of the victim, the situation has obviously reached a critical level. Fortunately, law enforcement was able to intervene in this situation before it was too late for the victim."
David maintained Wednesday that he did not believe he was in the wrong for the June 8, 2016, incident that ended with his brother being rushed off by ambulance to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock.
"I told him to leave me alone, but he wouldn't," he said frantically before the jury, noting his brother was a heavy drinker. "You never know what he's going to do when he's been drinking. He's unpredictable ... I was afraid for my life [that day] because of my medical problems."
David said his brother had been drinking all day on the day in question and said he was tired of his brother antagonizing him. He said his brother had a wooden club with a screw sticking out of it that scared him.
"I have Lukemia ... I've take chemo pills for 20 years," he said. "A small cut could kill me. I was scared for my life. It don't have to be a serious cut."
David said he was scared for his life and went to his room to grab a machete to use against his brother in attempt to save his own life.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Taylor Martin questioned David during Wednesday's trial as to whether he was actually scared for his life on the day in question.
Martin pointed to the facts — a pool of blood in the recliner where David's brother was sitting and David's failure to call authorities to the scene — and said it was unlikely David was the victim on the night in question.
"Do you understand there's no blood right here," Martin said as he pointed to a crime scene photo where David alleged his brother ran up and attacked him in the hallway. "There's no blood in the middle of the hallway. All [the] blood is on the chair and next to the chair because that's where [your brother] was sitting."
David began screaming that he had a cramp in his leg as Martin's questions showed flaws to his recollection of the events that led to his brother's injuries and asked Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr.'s permission to stretch. He then proceeded to push himself back and forth against the wall about 30 times before allowing Martin to continue questioning him.
At this point, Martin questioned David's character, noting it seemed he was trying to build a self-defense case over the years as he referenced audio clips and photos David showed the jurors.
In one of the audio clips, David's brother is overheard telling David to get away from his truck as David antagonizes him for what Martin described as attempt to get a sound byte against his brother.
Martin also questioned David about a photo David introduced as evidence. The photo showed David with a black eye that he said his brother gave him. However, when Martin asked him how his brother gave him the injury, David said he did could not remember what his brother did to cause it.
Martin asked David why he didn't leave the house if he felt threatened by his brother and pointed out that David got up, went to his bedroom to get a machete but did not make an effort to get out of the home.
"You didn't feel you were in imminent danger that night. You didn't call 911," Martin said, noting a passerby saw David's brother covered in blood and called authorities.
David, who unzipped the brown coveralls he was wearing and began flapping the piece as if he was overheated, said he did feel threatened and that he grabbed the machete in an attempt to disarm his brother.
An officer who responded to the scene testified Wednesday that David did not suffer any injuries from the attack.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews said jurors gave David a fair sentence for attacking his brother.
"This case involved a merciless act of domestic violence with a machete and because of the hard work of the Conway Police Department and deputy prosecutors Taylor Martin and Joan Shipley, the jury was presented a strong case and held the defendant responsible for his actions," she said. "The prosecutor's office will continue to seek strong punishment against violent offenders to protect our community."
At one point during Wednesday's trial, Shipley questioned Detective Thomas "Bob" Cole about the weapons collected as evidence from the scene.
The machete still had dried blood on it's sharp tip. However, the club David's brother used, according to David's testimony, to attack David, was clean.
"Was there any blood ... or deep cut marks [on the club]," she asked Cole.
"No, ma'am," he said, noting he collected evidence and reviewed the crime scene immediately after the victim was taken to the hospital and David was taken to the county jail on the night in question.
Ferguson said he was thankful the jury listened carefully to each witness's testimony and considered all the evidence at hand.
"The legal process worked as intended," he said. "The defendant had his day in court, and the jury listened carefully and sent a clear message that violence won't be tolerated in our community."
Martin and Shipley presented the evidence collected by Conway officers in an effective manner that helped lead to David's conviction Wednesday, he said.
"I appreciate the Conway Police Department's investigation of this matter as well as the trial presentation by deputy prosecutors Taylor Martin and Joan Shipley," Ferguson said. "As always, we're grateful that the citizens of Faulkner County offered their time to serve as jurors on this case."