"Conviction Affirmed in Aggravatted Battery Case involving Handicapped Victim"
On October 4, 1013, the Fourth District Appllate Court released a unanimous opinion affirming the Aggravated Battery conviction of George A. Appelt. Appelt was convicted by a jury of Aggravated Battery for repeatedly punching a handicapped woman in the head, causing her to suffer a black eye. He was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Appelt was arrested on September 10, 2011 after the victim, who has been hearing impaired since the age of ten, informed poice that Appelt repeatly punched her in the face with his fists. At trial, the victim recanted her earlier statement to police and said she did not know who attacked her. Assistant State's Attorney Mary Koll present evidence that Appelt told the police that he "should have killed" the victim. After ninety minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict of guilty.
In his primary basis for appeal, Appelt argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because the State failed to prove that he was the person who committed the aggravatted battery, citing to the victim's testimony that she was battered by an unknown assailant. The Appellate Court rejected this contention and held that a rational trier of fact could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appelt was the person who committed the aggravatted battery.
The Appellate Court reasoned that, "victims of domestic violence can be very forgiving. After their bruises heal and some time passes, they commonly change their mind about testifying against the loved one who beat them up. It is estimated that up to eighty percent of domestic violence victims either recant or refuse to testify against their batterers...The problem is widely known."
The case was prosecuted by Assistant State's Attorney Mary Koll. During a contested sentencing hearing, in which Appelt argued for a probation sentence, he publicly stated that his conviction resulted from "the excellent [trial] skills of Mrs. Koll."