Blind victim shouts in court over 'hearsay' ruling

Posted: July 03, 2014

IN A FIERY two-hour trial, a Common Pleas judge yesterday found a Germantown man who attacked a visually impaired person outside a deli in October guilty of two misdemeanors, acquitting him of aggravated assault - the most serious offense.

But spectators in the courtroom may not have known that Mustafa Guyton was the one on trial. For almost 30 minutes, victim Akil Solomon shouted at the prosecutor and the judge during his witness testimony - frustrated that he could not identify Guyton as his attacker based on what others had told him.

"This is really a joke right now," Solomon said after being told he could not introduce "hearsay" evidence during his testimony. "The hearsay makes it him."

Solomon seemed upset from the minute he was brought into the courtroom. At one point, he called a question from Assistant District Attorney Whitney Golden "idiotic" and pounded his hands on the frame of the jury box. After testifying, he was escorted out.

Officer Matthew Lally, one of two witnesses called by the defense, testified he was tasked with bringing Solomon to court yesterday. On the way, he said, Solomon cursed the entire time. About two minutes from the courthouse, Solomon jumped out of the car and police put him in handcuffs, Lally said. "So, am I on trial now?" Solomon, 34, said when defense attorney Marni Snyder asked during cross-examination whether he had been placed in handcuffs yesterday. He referred to both defense attorney and prosecutor as "sweetheart" and was eventually told to stop.

The trial was almost solely focused on the legal definitions of the charges against Guyton.

Guyton, 30, was arrested Nov. 1 and charged with misdemeanor simple assault, reckless endangerment and felony aggravated assault in the attack, which was captured on police surveillance. During the trial, he admitted attacking Solomon on Oct. 2 outside a deli on Wayne Avenue near Seymour Street in Germantown. But Guyton said that he mistook Solomon for someone who jumped him a month before and that he had done so because he was afraid.

In the end, Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Erdos convicted Guyton of simple assault and reckless endangerment, which each carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He acquitted Guyton of aggravated assault because the prosecution did not prove he intended to cause serious harm and injury.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 29. Guyton is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to court records.


On Twitter: @dylan_segelbaum

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