Veteran found guilty of aggravated assault on Houston County sheriff’s deputies

bpurser@macon.comAugust 13, 2013 


PERRY -- A Houston County jury deliberated less than an hour Tuesday before finding a Vietnam veteran guilty of aggravated assault for pointing a 20-gauge shotgun at a sheriff’s deputy, who then shot him.

David Michael Clayboss, 63, was also found guilty of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer for pointing a semiautomatic pistol at Houston County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Scott Gun, as well as two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime.

But jurors found him not guilty of a battery charge, a misdemeanor, involving his wife, Mary Clayboss.

Houston County sheriff’s deputy Jamario Tyrone Johnson shot Clayboss twice after Clayboss pointed the shotgun at him during a domestic call June 9, 2012, at his home on North Houston Lake Road near Warner Robins.

Melissa Clayboss, who testified on her father’s behalf, cried after the verdict was read.

Before her father was escorted from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies, he told both her and her brother, “It’s OK. It’s OK.”

Mary Clayboss, who did not testify during the two-day trial, had a visible injury to her face when she answered the door for deputies. But the defense said she had fallen and also took medications that could have accounted for what deputies saw.

The defense claimed that David Clayboss did not point weapons at the deputies. The prosecution argued that Clayboss did point the weapons and actually came after Johnson.

But whether Clayboss pointed the weapons or not did not matter, because the deputies were in reasonable fear for their lives in the presence of an armed man, the prosecution argued. The defense countered that Clayboss, an invalid, was unable to hold a weapon after a shoulder injury.

Judge Edward D. Lukemire agreed to delay sentencing until a later date in order for a presentencing report to be prepared.

Guy Womack, a Houston, Texas attorney who represented Clayboss, said he wanted time to submit an extensive medical history of Clayboss as mitigation in sentencing.

The daughter of David Clayboss previously said he is a Vietnam War veteran who went on to serve for Air America. He was injured in Thailand while with the now-closed CIA operative airline, causing a mental disability that affected the nerves in most of his body. The only unaffected limb had been his right arm, which he used to paint, she said.

After the trial, Assistant District Attorney Clif Woody, the lead prosecutor, said the verdict spoke the truth about what happened and sends a message that aggravated assault on law enforcement officers will not be tolerated.

Woody said he was not surprised at the jury’s findings on the battery charge. Woody said prosecutors chose not to put Mary Clayboss on the witness stand because they “did not want to put her through it” and because the felony assault charges were the more substantial counts.

Womack expressed disappointment at the verdict but appreciation that Clayboss was found not guilty of the battery of his wife that “never happened.”

Womack also said Clayboss never intended to injure the police officers, but they would not have known that when responding to the call.

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