Commonwealth Journal

September 26, 2013

Trial set for local man accused of beating wife

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A jury trial has been set in the case of a man who allegedly assaulted his wife and left her critically injured.

Christopher T. Smith, 44, of Caney Branch Road in Burnside, appeared in Pulaski Circuit Court Thursday before Judge David A. Tapp.

Smith was indicted earlier this month on one count of first-degree assault after he allegedly caused “serious physical injury upon Tammie Mullins and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” according to the indictment.

The investigation began just after midnight on Aug. 20, 2012 after Smith called Pulaski County 911 and said he found his wife unresponsive in their home at 755 Caney Branch Road, according to Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker, with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

Smith was returning home from working at Wayne County EMS.

Mullins was treated at their home by Somerset-Pulaski County EMS and flown to the UK Medical Center. Whitaker said law enforcement did not initially respond because the incident was reported as a medical emergency and not a possible crime.

Whitaker said medical staff while treating Mullins noticed “unexplained bruising and injuries on her head and body.” That’s when the sheriff’s department was contacted, and detectives began looking into the incident as a possible crime.

Whitaker said detectives soon learned there was a “substantial history of domestic violence” in the relationship.

Court records available to the public show one domestic violence order taken out on Smith, filed in 2002. The victim in that case was not Mullins. According to that 2002 complaint, Smith grabbed the victim by the throat and shoved her across the living room of the couple’s home.

“About 10 minutes after, he hit me in the face with his hand,” states the victim in the 2002 petition. “I am afraid this will happen again and I fear for my safety.”

Whitaker said Mullins was injured so severely that she was transferred from UK to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center. Whitaker said Mullins suffered in the alleged incident from a brain injury that “substantially affected her memory.”

Detectives eventually concluded that Smith and Mullins fought on Aug. 19, 2012, and Smith allegedly assaulted Mullins during that incident. Smith then left the home to go to work, and returned home the following night to allegedly find her “unresponsive,” according to Whitaker.

Whitaker said it appeared no weapons were used in the alleged assault, and he said Smith and Mullins are still legally married but they’re not in a relationship.

First-degree assault is a Class B felony.

Tapp in Thursday set Smith’s trial for January 6, 2014.