Man gets jail term after fourth conviction for family violence

An Augusta man who pleaded guilty to his fourth family violence battery was sentenced Thursday to probation with two months in jail.

 

James A. Thomas, 54, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court, admitting he hit his wife with a closed fist Nov. 11. She reported he hit her after he accused her of taking his son’s side in an argument, said Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms.

The deputy sent to the family’s home said the victim had a swollen, busted lip. The case was initially charged as a misdemeanor but because of Thomas’ prior family violence battery convictions, it was upgraded to a felony offense.

In 2012, he pleaded guilty in Columbia County Superior Court to the felony domestic violence battery and to misdemeanor cruelty to children. According to court records, in October 2012 he hit the victim, a different woman, in the foot with a bat and pulled her off a porch. He did that in front of a child.

Thomas was convicted of misdemeanor family violence battery twice in 2008 - in May when he punched a woman in the face, and in August when he punched the same victim and bit her face in front of a child.

Syms and defense attorney Jason Hasty both said they spoke to Thomas’ wife about the November incident and she told them she didn’t want to see Thomas locked up for what happened.

But Syms asked the judge to impose some amount of incarceration, if not years then at least months, because of his criminal history. In addition to the domestic violence history, Thomas’ history includes two counts of burglary in 1981, felony theft in 1992, and burglary in 1993.

Hasty asked the judge to consider probation for Thomas, who has a job and rental home waiting on him.

Judge Sheryl B. Jolly sentenced Thomas to the two months incarceration and gave him credit for time he has been in jail since his Nov. 11 arrest. Conditions of probation include anger management and no violent contact with the victim.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

 

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