Self-defense claim does not fly in domestic abuse case

2012-09-04T17:06:00Z 2012-09-04T17:20:04Z Self-defense claim does not fly in domestic abuse caseBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
September 04, 2012 5:06 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A plea agreement in a domestic abuse case is in jeopardy after the accused man reportedly told officials he was acting in self-defense and/or accidently when he fractured a woman's rib cage causing a collapsed lung.

Kristofer Hugunin, 39, was brought to court from jail Tuesday morning and was scheduled to be sentenced according to the terms of the proposed plea agreement when Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek asked to pull the deal.

Polarek said the Chesterton resident made the comments during the preparation of a presentence report. The comments were seen as downplaying his responsibility. 

Defense attorney Larry Rogers said Hugunin does not deny the battery charge, for which he pleaded guilty.

What he was trying to convey during the presentence investigation was that the May 3 incident was not a "major knockdown." He pushed the woman, Rogers said.

Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper said the adult probation department recommended she not accept the proposed plea agreement, which called for Hugunin to plead guilty to a felony count of battery causing serious bodily injury in return for prosecutors dropping two felony counts of domestic abuse.

The proposal calls for Hugunin to serve six years behind bars, with all but one year suspended and to be served on probation, Rogers said.

"It's not happening today," Harper said of the sentencing.

Harper scheduled another hearing for 9 a.m. Oct. 16 to give attorneys time to work toward an agreement.

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