A Barton County jury will decide whether Jacob Ryan Davis committed felony assault or used legal force in defense of another person when he pulled a gun during an altercation one year ago at Charlie’s Place, the bar at 1109 Main in Great Bend.
Davis is charged with four counts of aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a handgun at his ex-wife and three of her friends in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 2014. He has entered a plea of not guilty. A jury trial got underway Monday and will resume Tuesday morning at the courthouse. The trial is expected to take three days.
The jury spent several minutes Monday viewing surveillance video of the altercation that occurred around the 2 a.m. closing time on a Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Amber Mason said she went to the bar around 1 a.m. with Daniel Ramirez and his brothers, Steve and Hector. Her divorce from Davis had become final the year before, in September of 2013, and when they saw each other in the bar, they did not exchange kind words.
An hour later, the Ramirez brothers and Mason were walking out of the bar but were still inside the fenced courtyard behind it when the altercation caught on video occurred.
Mason testified that Davis and Daniel Ramirez exchanged words before they got out the door, but the altercation outside was with another couple from the bar. Mason said she didn’t know the man and woman, who were wearing Halloween costumes. “Then Jacob came out,” said something to the woman, and “then the female swung at me,” she said.
In the next 30 seconds, Mason estimated, Hector had pulled her back, so she was not hit, and the costumed male had thrown a punch at Hector Ramirez, who “kneed him in the nose.”
Everyone become entangled.
“The young man’s nose was bleeding and he fell on Steve and they pulled him off,” Mason said. “It all happened so fast.”
Mason and the Ramirez brothers said the altercation was over at that point but then they looked up and realized Davis was pointing a gun at their group. They got out of the courtyard and drove to Daniel Ramirez’s house, where they called the police and reported the incident.
Mason said she was not injured but was frightened.
Defense attorney Robert Anderson Jr. asked if perhaps Davis had stopped the fight by his actions, but Mason disagreed. After the masked man fell onto Steve, she said, “They were trying to get Steve untangled. The gentleman said, ‘I’m done, I’m done.’ So the fight was over.”
Anderson also questioned whether Mason actually feared for her safety when she saw the gun. He asked if she walked in front of Davis.
“I did,” she said. “I had to leave, and he was blocking the exit. I walked in front of him; I swung my hand up in the air so (the gun) wasn’t aimed at my head. I grabbed Steve’s shoe and we left.”
Anderson asked why Mason and the brothers didn’t go back inside and exit from the front of the bar. She said their car was behind the bar.
“You would rather walk right in front of his gun you were terrified of?” Anderson asked.
“I would rather get out of there and go home,” she answered.
Anderson also asked Mason about her original police statement, where she said he’d been hit by the woman. It read, “I went to grab Steve’s arm and she punched me.” At the time, she also thought she knew the name of the women, but it turned out she was mistaken.
On Monday, she said, “I didn’t get directly hit. ... I didn’t have a bruise; all I remember was a skim of my face."