Moments after attorney G.W. Johnson started his cross-examination in a Brown County courtroom of constable David Hefner, the encounter turned contentious.
It stayed that way for most of Hefner’s time on the witness stand Tuesday afternoon before a Brown County Court-at-Law jury.
Hefner, of Precinct 2, told authorities Colten Guidry, 21, swerved the pickup Guidry was driving into a bar ditch where Hefner stood with his dog the morning of April 8, 2017, near Hefner’s property in the May area.
Guidry is standing trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is accused by indictment of “intentionally or knowingly” threatening Hefner, 71, with bodily injury by swerving at Hefner and attempting to strike him with his pickup.
“I thought he was about to kill me,” Hefner testified.
Prosecutor Chris Brown elected testimony beginning Tuesday morning from Hefner, sheriff’s deputy Scotty Burke and then-sheriff’s investigator John Fincher that set out the state’s case.
Hefner, who lives with his wife on 80 acres on County Road 478, liked to walk his 92-pound Australian shepherd along the side of the narrow, little-traveled road, both for exercise and to check his cattle.
One Saturday morning, Hefner was about two-tenths of a mile from his driveway when he heard a pickup approaching. The pickup drove through two curves and began accelerating rapidly as it approached Hefner and his dog, according to state’s testimony.
Hefner moved with his dog into the middle of the bar ditch next to the road. Guidry, who was driving the pickup, swerved toward Hefner and entered the bar ditch, prompting Hefner to begin backing up and fall, according to testimony.
Guidry family members live near Hefner, and Hefner recognized the pickup as Colton Guidry’s and recognized Guidry as the driver, Hefner testified.
Johnson sought to show through cross-examination of the three state’s witnesses that Hefner gave inconsistent statements to Burke and Fincher. Johnson also sought to establish that photos of tire tracks in the bar ditch did not support Hefner’s claim and in fact could have been made by any vehicle.
Hefner also testified about seeing Guidry several months earlier paying a traffic fine to a justice of the peace clerk. Hefner said he talked to Guidry at that time about Guidry’s driving habits.
When Johnson began his cross-examination of Hefner, he confronted Hefner about an incident that happened Monday outside the courtroom, starting a contentious back-and-forth in which Johnson not only asked questions, but provided narrative.
According to Hefner’s answers and Johnson’s narrative:
Hefner walked near Johnson, Johnson’s assistant and Guidry family members and believed Johnson’s assistant was staring at him.Hefner asked the man what he was staring at and asked if he had something to say to Hefner. “We don’t have anything to say to you,” Johnson replied.
“You don’t talk to me like that,” Hefner said.
“I can talk to you any way I want to,” Johnson answered back. “It’s called freedom of speech.”
When Brown objected, saying Johnson was badgering and intimidating the witness, Johnson said the exchange showed Hefner’s “temperament and intimidating nature.”
As Hefner testified about the 2017 incident, Johnson asked Hefner if he had lied about what happened.
“I have no reason to,” Hefner replied.
Johnson accused Hefner of having an ego and “authority complex.”
Johnson also asked Hefner if he had identified Guidry as the driver only because he called Guidry’s uncle and asked who was driving the pickup. Guidry’s uncle told Hefner that Guidry was the driver, Johnson established through his cross-examination.
Hefner maintained that he already knew Guidry was the driver but asked Guidry’s uncle about the driver’s identify “just because I did it, just to verify what I saw.”
“The purpose is all about your authority, your ego and that road you think you own,” Johnson told Hefner.
Johnson asked Hefner if he made a report to the sheriff’s office because “in your mind, it’s time to teach Colton Guidry a lesson and make a felon out of him?”
“I made the report to let the law deal with it,” Hefner replied.