Colten Guidry, 21, was acquitted Thursday morning of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an April 8, 2017 incident involving Guidry and Brown County Precinct 2 Constable David Hefner.
A Brown County Court-at-Law jury had the option of convicting Guidry of a lesser offense of deadly conduct, but did not find Guidry guilty of either charge.
The state alleged that Hefner was walking with his dog around 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday near his home on County Road 478 when Guidry approached in a pickup, accelerating rapidly out of a curve. Hefner moved with his dog into the bar ditch, then had to take evasive action when Guidry deliberately steered his pickup into the bar ditch and headed toward Hefner, the state alleged.
Defense attorney J.W. Johnson, through testimony he elicited and in his closing argument to the jury, presented a different scenario. Guidry, on his way to work, saw Hefner walking with his dog down the middle of the road, Johnson told jurors. Guidry swerved around Hefner and the dog, continued on his way and looked in his mirror to see Hefner wave, Johnson said.
Johnson argued that photos of tire tracks on the edge of the bar ditch did not support Hefner’s claim about the incident. Johnson also argued that Hefner had given inconsistent statements to deputies.
“This man thinks this is his road. He owns it,” Johnson told jurors as the 71-year-old Hefner sat in the small courtroom, a few feet away from where Johnson stood and addressed jurors.
“This is a man who has accused Colten Guidry of a second degree felony,” Johnson told jurors. “I think he showed us in his testimony and appearance in this case that he’s an authoritative bully.”
Prosecutor Chris Brown countered in his closing argument that Guidry was the bully. The only people who claimed Hefner thought he owned the road and was a bully were Guidry family members who live nearby, Brown told jurors. “They have to portray (Hefner) as a big, bad bully,” Brown said.
Guidry had family members standing in front of him so Guidry didn’t have to “own up” to his actions, Brown argued. Brown compared Guidry to a bully who delivers a “kidney punch” to someone and then acts shocked when the other person reacts.