Victim testifies in flashlight attack trial
January 31, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Jealousy led Sgt. Stevie Huff to beat his ex-girlfriend over the head with a flashlight after their relationship ended, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Huff, a Stuttgart-based mechanic with the 554th Military Police Company, was upset because ex-girlfriend Tanja Gruber was with another man, Capt. Ryan Krohn, co-prosecuting attorney, said at the opening of Huff’s court-martial.
“‘You’ll see what’s going to happen’ are the words Tanja Gruber hears before (Huff) bashes her head with a flashlight just like this,” Krohn said while holding a black Maglite flashlight.
Huff faces four charges, including attempted premeditated murder, in a court-martial that began Wednesday.
In the early evening of May, 26, 2007, Huff was at Gruber’s Hauptstuhl apartment near Landstuhl collecting his clothes because the couple had ended their relationship, Gruber testified Wednesday. Prior to moving to Stuttgart, Huff was assigned to the 212th Combat Support Hospital in Miesau, which is near Hauptstuhl.
Gruber was sitting on her couch going through mail while Huff gathered his things, she testified Wednesday.
The next thing she remembered is feeling pain and lying in blood near the entryway to her apartment some 25 feet away from the couch, Gruber said. Gruber said she was going in and out of consciousness but recalled Huff standing near her with a flashlight in his hand, just staring at her.
Gruber testified that she came to and found herself locked in her apartment. Her keys and cell phone were missing so she cried for help.
German and U.S. military police eventually arrived, and Gruber was taken to the hospital, according to testimony.
After police kicked down Gruber’s door, she told them that the person who beat her was wearing a red-and-white striped shirt and gray shorts, according to testimony. However, a military spouse testified Wednesday that she saw Huff wearing a white shirt with blue writing and denim shorts not long before he was alleged to have been at Gruber’s apartment.
Investigators took pictures of the crime scene that showed ample amounts of blood on the floor and walls of Gruber’s entryway.
However, no physical evidence from Gruber’s apartment links Huff to the beating, said David Court, Huff’s civilian defense attorney. Court also noted that a search of Huff’s car found no evidence of blood tying him to the crime.
“Once you’ve heard all the evidence in this case, you’ll find that Sergeant Huff is not guilty of attempted premeditated murder and not guilty of the other charges in the case,” Court said.
A panel of two officers and three noncommissioned officers will determine the outcome of the court-martial, which is scheduled to continue Thursday.
Huff also faces charges of assault consummated by battery, which allegedly occurred between May 1 and May 26 in Hütschenhausen, Hauptstuhl and Landstuhl; one count of kidnapping; and one count of adultery.