(March 22, 2013) The boyfriend and alleged victim in the case of the Ocean City woman charged with assaulting him in the head with a can of beer one day and a can of beans the next day was jailed Wednesday because he was too intoxicated to testify.
“The trial was prevented from occurring,” Judge John L. Norton III said in District Court in Ocean City after finding Joseph Webster in contempt of court.
Kathleen Theresa Machen, 47, looked angry and horror-stricken as Webster was handcuffed in court before being taken to jail to serve a four-day sentence. Earlier, she had mouthed, “This is bull ____,” after the judge ordered her to continue to be held in jail pending trial.
Machen allegedly attacked Webster, who she said was her fiancé, on Feb. 5 with a can of beer in a room at a 12th Street inn. She was charged with second-degree assault and told to have no contact with Webster, who did not heed the advice of paramedics to seek treatment at a hospital.
The next day, Machen allegedly attacked Webster again, this time with a can of beans. In this incident, he had been asleep when she started the attack. According to police, she struck his head repeatedly, causing several bleeding wounds. She was charged with first- and second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and resisting arrest.
Machen was arrested a third time Feb. 19 and again charged with second-degree assault, with Webster again as the victim, during an argument about a can of beer.
In court Wednesday during a preliminary hearing to determine if the Feb. 6 case should be forwarded to Circuit Court, Pfc. Chris Snyder testified that a 2-inch diameter cut on Webster’s forehead was oozing blood.
Machen, Snyder said, had used a “full, un-open can of beans and struck him several times in the forehead.”
“The can contained blood on it and there was a large amount of blood on the sheets and in the sink in the bathroom,” Snyder testified.
Deputy State’s Attorney Paul Haskell said the case met the requirement of the charge of first-degree assault because it was an attempt to cause serious injury.
“She struck him at least once with a can of beans in the head,” Haskell said.
Joe Schanno, Machen’s public defender, did not think the case merited the serious charge, but Judge Norton said it did.
Facts of the case were “disturbing and alarming,” Norton said.
“A hard object like a metal can against the head could cause a brain injury,” Norton said.
Norton found probable cause for the felony charge of first-degree assault and forwarded the case to Circuit Court in Snow Hill.
The judge then addressed Webster, who had appeared under the influence of alcohol when he arrived at court. Because of his apparent intoxication, he was subjected to a breath/alcohol test, which revealed an alcohol level of .40.
“He’s here in body, but not in mind,” Norton said.