Assailant strikes plea deal after throwing statue

Published 10:07am Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An Austin man accused of assaulting two people and throwing a 45-pound statue at one accepted a plea agreement Monday in Mower County Court.

Troy Lester Benner, 39, pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor fifth-degree assault. Two felony charges for second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault by strangulation, along with a second gross misdemeanor assault charge, were all dismissed.

Police went to the 1000 block of 12th Avenue Southwest on April 27 for a hit and run report. When they arrived, they spoke with a woman and a man who described the alleged assault. The woman said Benner had been drinking, and she reportedly tried to take his keys to prevent him from driving. According to the court complaint, Benner threw the man onto a bed and then to the ground. The victims further stated Benner spit food at them, struck the man and tried to strangle him. The woman said she was pushed out of the way and fell during the scuffle. The complaint stated Benner then grabbed a 45-pound statue, threw it toward the ground, and the statue hit the man in the chest.

Benner then ran from the house, slammed the door and broke the latch and glass, the victims added.

According to court documents, Benner has had a history of alcohol abuse and psychological complications. He was sentenced to prison in 1998 for stabbing a woman several times, for which he was convicted of third-degree attempted murder. Benner was also convicted of terroristic threats in 2010, violating terms as a predatory offender in 2009 and domestic assault in 2008, among other convictions.

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