Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Man sentenced to prison for bar attack
Brandon Cummings, 34, of Zanesville appeared in front of Judge Kelly Cottrill last week to receive his sentence on one count of aggravated assault, a felony of the fourth degree, related to his attack on a patron in a local bar.
Prior to handing down the sentence, Judge Cottrill heard evidence concerning the amount of restitution owed to the victim of Cummings’ assault. Assistant prosecuting attorney John Litle, who handled the case, presented evidence of the permanent damage the victim suffered from the assault. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Cottrill ordered Cummings to pay the full amount of restitution for the victim’s out-of-pocket expenses, totaling more than $12,000.
Cummings was charged following an incident last October at a local establishment where a group of friends gathered after attending calling hours for a loved one.
The bartender that night was Cummings’ ex-girlfriend.
Cummings was highly intoxicated at the time and had been cut off from drinking. The bartender requested that one of the other patrons call the police. Afterward, Cummings walked down the bar near the other patrons, dumped a beer over the bartender’s head and appeared to be attacking her. This led one patron to intervene. Cummings responded by drawing back and striking the patron in the head.
Despite the attack being fully captured on video, Cummings and his attorney continued to deny striking the victim, even during his sentencing hearing.
Shortly after the attack, the victim began suffering from seizures, one of which led to an auto accident. The argument over restitution centered upon Cummings’ claim that the victim’s hospital bills were a result of the accident and not his assault.
This case was originally filed as a misdemeanor in the city, but over a period of time it became apparent that the victim was suffering long-term medical difficulties from the attack.
In order to pursue felony charges, the Prosecutor’s Office would have to prove that the seizures suffered by the victim were a close result of the defendant’s actions, proof of which was more difficult by the auto accident.
Due to Cummings’s intent to go to trial in misdemeanor court, the Prosecutor’s Office believed that the case ought to proceed with at least the possibility of a felony conviction. Cummings was indicted in February for the crime of felonious assault.
During plea negotiations, the Prosecutor’s Office and Cummings’s attorney, Kristopher Hill, arrived at a negotiated resolution, where Cummings would plead guilty to the felony of aggravated assault, which is a lesser charge than felonious assault.
The judge reviewed the facts of the case, as well as several prior incidents in which Cummings had been violent after drinking and sentenced him to 17 months in prison.
“Judge Kelly Cottrill arranged for a thorough pre-sentence investigation in this case and a lengthy hearing concerning sentencing,” Assistant Prosecutor John Litle said. “He saw through to the truth and came up with a more appropriate sentence than I had recommended.”
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