Homer Alaska - News

Jury acquits Homer man on kidnapping, assault charges



William Daugherty, right, and his lawyer, Bill Taylor, left, wait for the jury's verdict at the end of his trial on Friday morning. The jury found him not guilty on three felony charges of kidnapping, third-degree assault and third-degree weapons misconduct, but found him guilty on two counts of fourth-degree assault.

Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

After two-and-a-half days of deliberation this week, a Homer jury on Friday found a Homer man not guilty on three felony counts of kidnapping, third-degree assault and third-degree weapons misconduct. The jury did find William O. Daugherty, 47, guilty on two counts of fourth-degree assault. Almost 300 potential jurors were called for his trial.

Daugherty, a longtime Homer resident, had been charged with kidnapping and assault after an incident where he drove around Homer with a woman, then 18, in early July 2012.

In charging documents, Homer Police Sgt. David Shealy said the woman's uncle knew Daugherty and the woman would be driving around Homer in Daugherty's truck. Daugherty picked up the woman at her uncle's place of work, a Homer grocery store.

Shealy wrote that later in the evening the woman called her uncle numerous times on a cell phone, claiming Daugherty wouldn't let her out of his truck, and then that he took her to his East Skyline Drive home. The woman also claimed that Daugherty threatened her with a handgun. The uncle called police and went to look for her. In his criminal complaint, Shealy said the woman claimed she escaped from Daugherty when he heard his uncle's car on the road and Daugherty went back to his truck and drove away.

Shealy went to the area and wrote that he found the woman standing by the side of East Skyline Drive, visibly upset and emotional.

"I thought he was going to kill me," the woman said in testimony in court.

On the kidnapping count, Daugherty was charged with exposing the woman to a substantial risk of serious physical injury. The third-degree assault charge was for recklessly placing a person in fear of injury by means of a dangerous instrument, that is, a gun. The jury found him guilty on a lesser charge of fourth-degree assault and a second fourth-degree assault charge of causing a person physical injury.

"I'm very relieved," said Daugherty's lawyer, Bill Taylor, of the dismissal of felony charges. "I think the jury put a lot of time looking into the evidence. I think they delivered a fair verdict."

After the verdict and while Daugherty awaits sentencing on the lesser charges, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet set bail at $5,000 with a $500 cash performance bond.

Daugherty thanked his attorney.

"I'm just glad I grew up in Homer," Daugherty said.

His older sister, Shari Daugherty, praised the jury for its consideration.

"I'm thrilled that the process worked and these people worked so hard and came to the verdict they did," she said.

Taylor said Daugherty has already served eight months at Wildwood Pretrial Facility awaiting trial. Daugherty has a sentencing hearing on March 26, and Taylor said he hoped Judge Huguelet would sentence him to time served and probation.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.