innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doswell Faces Charges for Simple Assault

Former inmate is held for trial in assault

Friday, July 07, 2006

By Gabrielle Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thomas Doswell arrives at City Court yesterday with his mother, Olivia Doswell, for a preliminary hearing on a simple assault charge.

Adrienne Young , Founder of Tree of Hope, speaks to the media after the preliminary hearing yesterday.

The four snapshots spread before a City Court judge yesterday reveal the truth about what happened June 29, according to the opposing attorneys in a highly publicized simple assault case.

The prosecutor said they show Adrienne Young was choked and slapped by Thomas Doswell, a former friend with whom she had been romantically involved. Mr. Doswell's attorney says they show a fake case by a woman who was harassing his client. The judge held the matter for trial.
Ms. Young, director of the crime victims' support agency Tree of Hope, testified that she and Mr. Doswell began to argue because she wanted to remove him from her insurance for a faulty car he had just purchased. She said he held her throat with both hands for "about a minute" and then smacked her left cheek. Her neighbor later took the close-up flash photographs, which showed a thick red mark along the left side of her neck.

The attorney for Mr. Doswell, who was exonerated last year after serving 19 years in prison on a 1986 rape charge, asked Ms. Young, "How much makeup did you put on before you took these photos?"

"Zero," she said.

Attorney James E. DePasquale asked Ms. Young whether she sought medical attention after the incident. No, she said.

"You're saying Mr. Doswell strangled you for one minute," he said, "and you didn't seek any attention at all?"

Ms. Young repeated she did not, however she did call 911. A city patrol officer who met her at a car wash a few blocks from the site of their argument -- outside Mr. Doswell's sister's house in Homewood -- testified he saw the red marks on her face and neck.

Magisterial District Judge James Haney stated he had heard enough evidence to hold Mr. Doswell for trial on the assault charge and set the formal arraignment for Sept. 21. Mr. Doswell remains free on bond.

Ms. Young, 49, said she met the 47-year-old East Hills man through her work helping recently released inmates find employment, education, transportation and other services.

She denied Mr. DePasquale's portrayal of last week's argument, which he said became heated because Mr. Doswell did not want to date her and she did not want him to see other women.
"That argument was never about another woman," Ms. Young said yesterday. "It was about the car and the brakes that went out."

While awaiting the hearing, Ms. Young sat flanked by a brother, several longtime colleagues and former inmates who vouched for her credibility and dedication to inmates, victims and their families.

"It's a tragedy, biting the hand that's feeding you," said Connie Craig, vice president of the state NAACP's prison programs. Ms. Craig said she has known Ms. Young "over 27 years" and met Mr. Doswell while he was serving at the State Correctional Institution Somerset: "There's no doubt in my mind, what Adrienne said is true."

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