By Rachel Dove
WEST WILLIAMSON - Law enforcement officers were dispatched to an apartment at Victoria Court in the early morning hours of April 4 after a female resident called Mingo County 911 and whispered that she was trying to hide in the bathroom from her husband, who had a gun and was threatening to kill her.
Williamson Police Department Patrolman J.D. Tincher and Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. A. Farra quickly responded to the scene, and reportedly could hear the woman screaming for help as soon as they left their vehicles. The officers pounded on the front door and identified themselves but no one would open the door for them to enter, their report states. Tincher and Farra said they could hear the woman begging and pleading for her life while a man identified as Jonathan Smith, 32, repeatedly yelled, “I’m going to kill you b***h!”
The officers made multiple attempts to kick the door in to gain entry, but were unable to do so due to the safety deadbolt, their report states. As the violence in the house escalated and the officers could hear the panic in the victim’s voice as she pleaded, “Help me! Help me, please, he’s going to kill me,” Tincher decided to to enter the apartment by force and, after giving several warnings to “clear the doorway,” fired a 12-gauge shotgun to blow the lock off the door, the report states.
Upon entering, they they said they found the victim, identified as Bobbie Smith, crawling on the floor as she tried to escape from her husband’s sight. The officers said she was covered in blood that was later determined to have came from multiple injuries to her head and face that included a broken nose. They also said she had multiple lacerations and contusions, as well as red whelps and bruising on her neck, where her irate husband had allegedly attempted to choke her to death.
Once inside, the officers said they were told the couple’s juvenile child was hiding upstairs in the apartment after becoming scared that her father was going to kill her mother. A Child Protective Service case worker was called to the scene to take care of the child.
The victim was taken from the scene by STAT Ambulance to a local hospital to receive treatment for her injuries. The defendant was also taken to the hospital for evaluation of an injury to his left foot and leg that stemmed from being struck from a few of the double-aught buckshot pellets that were fired into the door lock when it was blasted off, the report states. The injuries were described as minor and he was treated and released, then arraigned on charges of malicious battery, domestic battery, wanton endangerment and child neglect creating risk of injury, the officers said.
Speaking of the way the call played out in those early morning hours, Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair said Tincher did exactly what he found necessary to save the victim’s life.
“I found that his actions to use force to gain entry to the apartment were fully justified,” Blair said. “If I would have thought otherwise, I would have immediately placed him on administrative leave and called for an investigation. What this officer did more than likely saved this woman’s life, and very well may have also saved the life of a young child.”
“Let me explain it this way … if you are a female that has been beaten and choked and have suffered multiple blows to your face, and truly believe your life is about to be taken from you, what would you want done?” Blair asked. “Would you rather have an officer respond that continues to pound on a door trying to get someone to let them in and call for a key that may take quite a while to arrive, or an officer that understands the severity of the situation and whose only concern is saving your life and that of your child?”
“I think we all would answer this question the same way,” the police chief said.
“I do not question the judgment or the decision made by Patrolman Tincher. He is, and has always been, an asset to this department,” Blair said. “Furthermore, I spoke with Sgt. Farra as well as Sgt. Phillip Muncy, who were at the scene, and both officers spoke of the severity of the situation and the need to gain access into the apartment as quickly as possible. Time was of the essence in this case and, thankfully, the victim was not killed and the child was unharmed.”
Smith is due in court this morning and will appear before Magistrate Dee Sidebottom for a preliminary hearing on these charges. He has been lodged in the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden in lieu of $10,000 bond.