GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (WZZM) - A man who lost a grape-sized chunk of his tongue to his girlfriend’s teeth offered forgiveness in court Thursday, but says the mid-November assault “is something out of a horror film.’’
“I can’t believe I actually went through getting a piece of my tongue bitten out of my mouth,’’ Aaron D. Hollowell said. “When you look at the pictures, it turns my stomach. I don’t even know how you could do that to somebody.’’
His assailant, 29-year-old Desirae McKie Glatfelter, was convicted of aggravated domestic assault, a misdemeanor. Jurors cleared her of criminal mayhem, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“In this case, the defense maintains that Mr. Hollowell was not the victim of an assault,’’ Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber said. “His severed tongue speaks otherwise.’’
Leiber sentenced Glatfelter to a year in the Kent County Jail, the maximum penalty allowed. He credited her with 37 days already served.
Defense attorney Judith Baxter contends Glatfelter was the victim. The mother of three has been “battered and bruised’’ by the criminal justice system, Baxter told the court.
“She believed she was being assaulted,’’ Baxter said. “She was afraid and she just bit. There’s no intention; I think the jury clearly sent that message when they found her not guilty of mayhem.’’
Glatfelter said she did not intend to severe Hollowell’s tongue when she bit down in the kitchen of her home on Fremont Avenue NW the evening of Nov. 15, 2016.
“I was scared,’’ Glatfelter said. “I never, never would do anything to hurt someone like this. I’m very sorry about this.’’
Glatfelter said she feared a sexual assault and acted in self-defense. Prosecutors say there was no assault, the force was excessive and Glatfelter’s intent clear.
The rarely-used mayhem charge covers malicious intent to maim or disfigure the tongue, eye, ear, nose and lip. It also covers cutting of or disabling a “limb, organ or member.’’
Gruesome images of Hollowell’s maimed tongue – and the severed tip, were presented to jurors at trial. A Spectrum Health emergency room doctor who treated Hollowell testified that the severed tip could not be reattached.
Hollowell said he has forgiven Glatfelter.
“If I carry all this resentment and pain inside me, it’s going to affect me as a man throughout the rest of my life,’’ he said.
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