PERRY -- A Warner Robins man expected to go on trial for attempted murder in Houston County Superior Court after stabbing another man multiple times has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault.
Judge Katherine K. Lumsden sentenced 31-year-old Damon Nolan Batiste to seven years in prison and eight subsequent years on probation for the Feb. 9, 2010, stabbing of 24-year-old Joe Johnson, court records show.
Other charges of attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery and possession of a knife during a crime were dismissed as part of a June 2 negotiated plea, court records show.
Lumsden ordered Batiste to pay a $1,000 fine, have no contact with co-defendant Victor Casey Dennard and to have no contact with Johnson. Batiste also was advised that any new crimes of theft, fraud or violence would result in him serving his full sentence in prison.
Dennard, 22, of Warner Robins, also was indicted on the same charges with Batiste, but the charges against Dennard were later dismissed. Prosecutors noted insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt due to uncertainty in witness identification and defendants alibi evidence, according to court records.
Johnson was stabbed with a large knife outside Tanglewood Apartments. His mother, Dorothy Oats, told police she heard a disturbance on the back porch of their apartment. She looked out the window and saw two men assaulting her son. She screamed as one was about to stab Johnson in the head. The men fled on foot.
On disposition of the case, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Dan Bibler said there were some difficult witnesses on both sides, the victim was in agreement with the resolution, and we felt it was the best way to go.
Russell Walker, Batistes court-appointed attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.