Man gets 2 years for assault

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 18, 2018
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A Decatur man who fired a gun into the ground and hit his brother over the head with the gun during a dispute two years ago was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday.

Tony Maroney

Tony Maroney, 56, was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a Wise County jury Thursday morning following an hour-and-a-half of deliberation. Late Thursday afternoon, the jury returned its verdict of two years in prison.

Maroney faced 2 to 20 years in prison for the second degree felony offense. Because he had not been previously convicted of a felony, he was also eligible for probation.

The jury found Maroney not guilty of a second count of deadly conduct discharge firearm, a third degree felony offense.

Maroney’s younger brother, Craig, testified he was inside his home near Decatur Nov. 7, 2016, when he was alerted of someone outside by his son’s dog. He saw his brother standing outside, so he went outside and asked him what he was doing.

“‘You know damn well what I’m doing,'” Craig Maroney said his brother responded.

When Tony, who lives nearby on the same property, turned to walk toward the mailbox, Craig said he noticed a gun tucked into the back of his brother’s pants. He waited for his brother to return so he could ask him why he had a gun.

Craig testified that as the conversation became more heated, Tony’s dog, a Rottweiler, jumped up on Craig, who said he pushed the dog away from him.

“[Tony] attempted to punch me,” Craig said. “I blocked and countered,” hitting his brother on the cheek.

That was the point his brother pulled out the gun and threatened to shoot him, Craig said.

“He looked at me, smiled, shot off a round between my legs,” he said.

When Craig turned to walk into the house, he said his brother hit him in the back of the head with the gun.

Tony later testified and gave a different version of events. He said it was Craig who came outside while he was walking his dog and began yelling at him.

Tony, a diabetic, said he told his brother that his blood sugar was high and he was not feeling well. He said Craig began “darting around” and slapping and hitting him on the chest.

After slapping Tony’s dog away, Craig came at Tony again, he testified.

“He came up to me, so I reached back and pulled the gun,” he said. “I put it between my legs and fired. The reason I shot down was the gun is loud, and I was trying to scare him.”

He said Craig continued to hit him with his hands, and it was during this time that Tony said the barrel of the gun must have accidentally hit his brother in the back.

Defense attorney Ray Napolitan argued that Tony acted lawfully due to being attacked by his brother.

“He defended himself,” Napolitan told the jury during closing arguments in the first part of the trial. “He did what was immediately necessary to get back inside his house.”

Assistant District Attorney Jay Lapham argued that since Craig did not have any weapon on him, and Tony was not in imminent harm, the use of deadly force was not necessary.

“Craig used self defense when the defendant tried to hit him. Then it was over, until the defendant pulled out a revolver and threatened Craig,” he said.

During the punishment phase of the trial, Lapham called Tony’s ex-wife, Zannett Hobbs, to testify about an incident between the two in 1986. Hobbs said she came home from work late one night, and Tony wanted to know where she had been.

He pointed a gun at her head.

“He said, ‘If I can’t have you, no one can,'” she said. “He pulled the trigger. I didn’t know it wasn’t loaded.”

Lapham also presented evidence of four misdemeanor convictions – including driving while intoxicated, reckless conduct and assault causing bodily injury – which all resulted in probated sentences for the defendant.

Decatur Police Sgt. Gerald Wright also testified about an incident in 2001 when Tony fought with officers trying to place him under arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Tony’s two sons also testified for the defense during the punishment phase, saying that a prison sentence would be detrimental to the rest of his family.

“It would devastate the whole family,” Steven Maroney said as his father dabbed tears from his eyes with a tissue.

Tony and Craig’s mother, Teresa Burnham, also testified about her family’s situation.

“I have to worry every night about what will happen next,” she said through tears. “There’s no peace in my family with my children. There’s no reason for that.”

After the jury’s verdict of two years in prison was read, Steven Maroney banged his head on the back of the bench in front of him and walked out of the courtroom, saying, “nobody touch me” to officers who were following closely behind him.

Tony was later booked into the Wise County Jail.

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