Woman Waives Hearing in Aggravated Assault Case

CLEARFIELD – A Houtzdale woman who has been accused of throwing a beer bottle and injuring another woman waived her right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling during Centralized Court Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Sabrina C. Gardner, 22, of Houtzdale is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Nevling set Gardner’s bail at $40,000 unsecured with the condition that it also be supervised. Nevling also ordered Gardner to refrain from the use of alcohol and from any contact with the victim and witnesses involved in the case.

Public Defender Shawn T. McMahon, Esq. sought unsecured bail for Gardner. Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. asked Nevling to consider that the victim had “life-sustaining injuries” and feared running into Gardner if she would be released. He asked that if modified, Gardner’s bail not only be supervised, but also prohibit her from any contact with the victim and witnesses.

Nevling said although bail was not a punishment, he didn’t want any further conflicts between the victim and the defendant. He then warned Gardner if she caused any problems that her unsecured bail would be revoked and she’d “sit right here until the case is closed.”

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Aug. 18, 2012, the victim’s brother and fiancée were engaged in an argument/fight. Then, the victim and Gardner intervened and “exchanged words” after which the victim walked away. At that point, Gardner yelled at the victim and when she turned around, Gardner allegedly threw a beer bottle in her face. The victim was subsequently transported by private vehicle to the Altoona Hospital; from there she was flown to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

On Aug. 18, 2012, state police interviewed a Ginter woman who didn’t observe the alleged incident as it occurred outside. But based on her knowledge, Gardner hit the victim with a beer bottle and “knocked her two front teeth out.” The woman observed the victim holding a towel on her mouth. She said Gardner hit the victim without any reason, and she asked Gardner to leave, which she did without any argument.

The woman told state police that Gardner didn’t say why she’d hit the victim. She didn’t believe it had anything to do with the argument between the victim’s brother and his fiancée. The woman said she wasn’t sure why Gardner even became involved with the previously said situation. However, she said Gardner had a lot to drink.

On Aug. 18, 2012, state police interviewed a Houtzdale woman who observed the alleged incident between Gardner and the victim. The woman heard yelling and went over to see what was happening. She observed the victim crying for her brother and his fiancée to stop fighting. At that point, Gardner said, “That’s my best friend” and the victim said, “That’s my brother. I don’t want any fighting. I just want his keys.”

The woman told state police that the victim tried to walk away when Gardner was yelling at her. She said when the victim turned around Gardner wailed a beer bottle in her face. When the bottle hit the victim, the woman said it sounded like “keys hitting;” however, it was the bottle smashing. She said Gardner wasn’t far away from her and the victim who was covered in blue glass afterward.

She said the victim went running into the residence, where she talked to her in the bathroom. The victim had a cut lip, two missing front teeth and blood running down her arms and legs. The victim also had scratches on her neck and her left eye was “all puffed out.”

On Aug. 18, 2012, state police interviewed Gardner, who said the victim’s brother and his fiancée (Gardner’s best friend) were fighting. She claimed that he was hitting his fiancée, she told him to stop and he told her to stay out of it. Gardner said she was telling him that she wasn’t staying out of it, because it involved her best friend. She said the victim showed up and told her to stay out of it.

Gardner then told the victim that she’d walk away if she would, too. She said as the victim was walking away, someone threw a beer bottle and hit her in the face. Gardner said some guy approached her with part of the bottle and accused her of busting the bottle over the victim’s head. She told the guy that she wasn’t drinking Bud Platinum and was drinking Twisted Tea and Jungle Juice. Gardner told state police, “A lot of people there hated me. A lot of people are going to say I did it because they hate me.”

Gardner claimed the victim was walking about 10 feet in front of her and had her back to her. She said at least 10 people surrounded her and told her she needed to leave after the alleged incident. Gardner said that no one was next to her, and she neither had nor threw the beer bottle.

When state police later interviewed Gardner, she couldn’t say whether she threw the beer bottle at the victim. She said if she threw the bottle at the victim, it would have been an accident because they were “cool” before it happened. Gardner later said she remembered throwing the beer bottle but not her reason for throwing it. She said, “I don’t think I meant to throw it at her. I don’t know how I got the bottle. I wasn’t drinking that. I was pissed off and whipped it, but I didn’t mean to throw it at her.”

On Aug. 21, 2012, state police interviewed the victim who said she was at her friend’s residence on Aug. 18, 2012, the day of the alleged incident. She said her brother and his fiancée were fighting. Her brother had been drinking, and she wanted his keys.

She said Gardner was there and after she got her brother’s keys, she suggested that they just walk away. At that point, she walked away and heard Gardner yell something. When she turned around, the victim said Gardner threw the bottle in her face. She said it shattered in her face and she ran inside. The victim said she had a friend take her to the hospital.

On Sept. 1, 2012, state police interviewed the Houtzdale woman again about the alleged incident. She said after the victim turned around, Gardner picked up her knee and threw the Bud Platinum bottle like a baseball pitch. The woman believed it occurred in the driveway area outside the residence, because that’s where they found the victim’s teeth.

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