Tahlequah Daily Press

June 26, 2013

Man formally charged in assault case

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of punching and choking a woman earlier this month as she held a weeks-old baby.

Sammuel Ray Harbison, 25, is charged with domestic assault and battery by strangulation in the presence of minors, two counts of child neglect, ob -structing an officer, and threatening to perform an act of violence.

Harbison had been given a $15,000 bond by Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins and was released from jail June 8, a day after his arrest, court records show. But Harbison failed to show up for his initial appearance in Cherokee County District Court on Tuesday afternoon, leading Dobbins to issue a warrant with no bond for Harbison’s arrest, according to records.

Tahlequah Police Sgt. Robert Jones’ affidavit says Harbison arrived at his home drunk on June 7 and became angry at the female victim. The woman decided to take her two children and leave for the night, but Harbison allegedly grabbed her by the throat and threatened her life.

Jones’ report says the woman had a 7-week-old baby in her arms when Harbison shoved the victim’s head into a wall, leaving a large hole.

The woman then grabbed a beer bottle and hit Harbison in the head, but Harbison grabbed her by the throat a second time and slammed her to the ground while she was still holding the baby, Jones said.

Harbison allegedly took the baby from the victim’s arms and placed the baby on a couch, then grabbed the woman by her hair and continued to choke her. At some point, Harbison allegedly told the victim to begin dressing a 2-year-old who was in the house, and when she did, he again attacked her by punching her repeatedly in the face.

When police made contact with Harbison, he was at a relative’s house and was holding two knives to his chest, so officers drew their firearms and ordered him to drop the weapons. Harbison eventually dropped the knives and aggressively approached officers, Jones wrote, so a Cherokee Nation marshal deployed his taser on Harbison, who was then arrested and taken to jail.

Jones said the victim suffered numerous injuries as a result of the alleged attack by Harbison.

Domestic assault and battery by strangulation in the presence of a minor is a felony punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of $3,000; child neglect is punishable by up to life in prison, as well as a fine; obstructing an officer is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine; and threatening to perform an act of violence is punishable by up to six months in prison.