PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT;
ON PETITION FOR REHEARING
The original opinion is withdrawn and this opinion is substituted.
The sufficiency of an indictment to support a charge of aggravated assault is the question presented by this appeal. The appellant, Melvin E. Ward, was convicted in Hinds County Circuit Court of the crime of aggravated assault and sentenced to a term of twenty years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections at Parchman, with five years suspended. It is from this conviction and sentence that the appellant appeals assigning the following as error:
(1) The indictment is insufficient to support a charge of aggravated assault;
(2) The trial court erred in permitting the prosecution to cross-examine a defense witness on matters which were extraneous and prejudicial;
(3) The jury instructions do not properly define and explain the crime of aggravated assault; and
(4) The trial court erred in denying defendant's requested self-defense instruction.
This Court affirms the conviction.
Appellant Melvin E. Ward was charged with aggravated assault of Jo Ann Ward as a result of an incident that occurred on April 11, 1983. Melvin and Jo Ann had been married from July of 1978 until September of 1981, when Jo Ann was granted a divorce on the ground of cruelty. The mother was awarded custody of the couple's two children and Melvin was ordered to pay $175.00 monthly child support. Melvin has been jailed several times for non-payment of child support since the divorce, most recently before the trial in March of 1983.
According to Jo Ann Ward, sometime between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on April 11, 1983, she emerged from the bathroom of her apartment at 535 Eastview Street in Jackson, Mississippi to find the appellant standing in her bedroom door. The appellant told Jo Ann that he didn't appreciate what she did concerning his non-payment of child support. Appellant asked Jo Ann if a belt hanging in the closet was his army belt. Jo Ann became nervous because on prior occasion the appellant had beaten her while wearing army clothing. Jo Ann went to the dresser to get some clothes for the children, intending to leave the apartment. Appellant wrapped the belt around her neck from behind and choked her until she passed out.
Appellant's version of the incident was that Jo Ann cursed him and attacked him, striking him with a belt and kicking him in the groin; that as he grabbed Jo Ann's collar in order to restrain her, the bandanna which she was wearing around her head slipped around her neck and became entangled in the appellant's hand; that when Jo Ann ceased struggling the appellant released his grip and Jo Ann fell to the floor.
Dr. Judy Gore of the University Medical Center in
Jackson, who examined and treated Jo Ann Ward on April 12, 1983, testified that the victim's face and head from the neck up were very swollen and bruised, particularly around the area of the eyes. Dr. Gore testified that the belt introduced as State's exhibit 5 was consistent with the smooth band-like bruise marks which she observed around Jo Ann's neck. Dr. Gore was of the opinion that a twisted handkerchief could not have caused Jo Ann's injuries. Deborah McNealy, a forensic serologist with the Jackson Police Crime ...