Local man pleads guilty to assault charge
A man accused of stabbing two neighbors during a fight in May pleaded guilty to an assault charge on Monday.
Gregory Wayne Presley, 32, 717 N. Jackson Ave., Russellville, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault the day before his case was set to go to trial, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
According to Rushing, Presley pleaded guilty to a 10-year sentence split with a year to serve in prison followed by five years probation.
Rushing said the case stems from an altercation that took place between neighbors that quickly escalated out of control.
According to reports, Russellville police officers responded to a fight call on N. Jackson Avenue the evening of May 24 and when officers arrived, they found Presley scuffling on the ground, wielding a knife, with two other men.
Rushing said Presley went to a neighbor’s house to ask for a cigarette and when he was told no, he reportedly called the female resident a vulgar name.
“After he called the woman a name, her husband and brother came outside and had words with Mr. Presley,” Rushing said. “The fight soon turned from a verbal fight to a physical fight, which is when Mr. Presley pulled out a knife.”
Officers said at the time of the arrest that both victims received several cut wounds from the knife and were treated at Russellville Hospital.
“Mr. Presley had the argument of self-defense, which weighed on our decision to settle the case,” Rushing said. “However, we felt very strongly that he should serve jail time because the wounds our victim sustained could have been much more serious had he not received medical attention immediately.
“We negotiated the settlement with the victims’ present and we feel Mr. Presley received a proper sentence in this case.”
Rushing said this is an example of a senseless crime that could have been avoided.
“It’s sad that something as trivial as arguing over a cigarette can turn into a situation where knives are drawn, people are injured and a man will now spend a year of his life in prison on a felony charge,” he said.
“When an argument gets heated and the situation is starting to escalate out of control, the best thing to do is to walk away or call the police. There are better alternatives than resorting to violence.”