Former Roberta City Councilman Wincel Thaxton was released on his own recognizance Wednesday after his arrest on a simple battery charge related to a fight last month at City Hall with clerk Vicki Grant.
Thaxton, 64, was booked into the Crawford County jail after Grant signed the warrant, which was approved by Chief Magistrate Richard Spencer after a hearing Tuesday.
Thaxton, who frequently visits City Hall because his wife works there, entered through the private entrance that day.
In Tuesdays testimony, Grant said Thaxton became irate when she used profanity while telling him she didnt want to hear his complaints about a Roberta city worker.
Thaxton admitted gesturing with his middle finger and telling Grant to sit on that.
She told him: Kiss my a--, you b------, and he charged back into her office and got in her face and she was terrified, Grant testified.
They continued shouting at each other as she made her way to the private door to look for members of the police department who had been working on cars outside.
Grant said Thaxton grabbed her by the neck. She said she pushed back and he slapped the left side of her face, knocking her eyeglasses to the pavement.
I picked my foot up and I kicked him, and he landed in the flower bed, Grant testified.
Thaxton admits putting his hand to Grants neck in the office to push her back in her chair, but he testified that came after she hit him first.
Ive never been in trouble in my life, Thaxton told Grants attorney, Erin Corbett, as she questioned him in court. As I sit down and calm down, this is probably the most exciting day of my life, aside of getting married, I guess.
Thaxton, a lifelong resident of Crawford County, demonstrated on the witness stand how Grant punched him in the mouth while they were still in her office at the beginning of what has been described as an old-fashioned swearin match.
Grant denies striking Thaxton except to push him away outside.
Corbett asked why Thaxton didnt mention in his written statement that Grant struck first.
Things were happening in milliseconds, maam, Thaxton told Corbett. It wasnt like we got to have time to think about this and go down through the line, I mean, Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam!
When a police officer arrived, Thaxton was in the rose bushes next to the private entrance to City Hall.
He was bleeding from his lip and had scratches on his arms from the thorns. He requested an ambulance. Thaxton had heart surgery last fall and was on blood-thinning medication.
I know I was the victim, he told his attorney, Floyd Buford, in court.
But Thaxton said he did not want to pursue a warrant because Grant was a friend.
I have never, ever slapped a woman. I have never put my hands on a woman, he testified.
Thaxton is due back in court May 23.
As a condition of his bond, Thaxton must not contact Grant and not visit Roberta City Hall, unless it is on official business. He also was ordered to use the front door.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.