Henderson County District Attorney's Office:
ATHENS (KYTX) - It was a case that District Attorney Scott McKee hoped would send a message to those that ingest methamphetamine, and late last Wednesday afternoon, after an hour and a half of deliberation, a Henderson County jury of 10 women and 2 men found Lola Amelia Thompson guilty of Assault on an Emergency Service Personnel.
Thompson, who is 38 years old and formerly of Kemp, had been indicted by a Henderson County Grand Jury for punching an ER Nurse at East Texas Medical Center in Athens.
The charge is a Third Degree Felony and carries a punishment of up to 10 years incarceration. The verdict came at the conclusion of a three day trial in Judge Dan Moore's 173rd Judicial District Court.
Assistant District Attorneys Nancy Rumar and Justin Weiner prosecuted the case on behalf of Scott McKee's District Attorney's Office.
Over the course of the two day trial, the jury was presented with evidence of events taking place while ETMC staff attempted to care for Thompson.
On July 25, 2012 Thompson was taken to the emergency room by family members after she had become severely intoxicated and attempted to cut herself. Eye witness testimony detailed a struggle to get Thompson medical attention that she needed but did not want. A family member drove Thompson from her home where evidence showed that she had ingested a gallon of whiskey, taken a large number of prescription pills, smoked marijuana, and had consumed amphetamines/ methamphetamine. Thompson then cut her forearm and was in need of sutures.
When an attempt was made by a family member to unload Thompson just outside the ETMC Emergency Room at the breezeway she instantly became combative and violent. Thompson then head-butted a family member, breaking his nose. Multiple witnesses presented by the District Attorney's Office stated that they could actually hear a loud popping noise when the man's nose was broken by Thompson.
At that time video surveillance and testimony presented to the jury described a dangerous situation as Emergency Room Personnel attempted to aid Thompson. She continued her violent rampage and then targeted the hospital's staff. Thompson struck an ETMC Emergency Room Charge Nurse in the face 4-5 times with a closed fist. Ben Bailey, also a member of the ER staff, had to pull Thompson off of the nurse who was there attempting to provide medical care to Thompson.
Sgt. Jason McEntire and Officer Dustin Cook arrived on scene and attempted to detain Thompson. It ultimately took three officers to restrain Thompson who continued to punch, kick, and scream. Thompson would later have to be sedated by medical personnel so that she could be treated and cleared to leave the hospital. An emergency room physician testified at trial that it took nearly three times the normal amount of sedation required for an average person to get Thompson to a treatable state.
"I really appreciate the hard work of our lawyers in prosecuting this case". Said 1st Assistant District Attorney Mark Hall. "My daughter is a registered nurse, and she and her husband are expecting what will be our first
grandchild. I know from experience the hard work, dedication and long hours nurses put in treating their patients, and often consoling their families. Doctors, nurses and other medical providers should not have their own safety and wellbeing put at risk while carrying out those tasks, and I commend the jury for standing up for them by rendering their verdict in this case."
District Attorney Scott McKee said that as a community we can't let people hide behind their methamphetamine addictions as an excuse to hurt others.
"Assistant DA Weiner asked the jury to stand up and protect those that care for us and the jury responded with a swift verdict." McKee stated that we were very blessed to have ETMC in our community. "As District Attorney I'll do everything in my power to protect our medical professionals from people who ingest methamphetamine and other substances and take out aggression on those that try to help them."
A sentencing hearing has been set for March 18, 2014 at 9:00am in the 173d Judicial District Court.