Argument about naming newborn leads man to assault girlfriend in maternity ward of Montco hospital
By Carl Hessler Jr.
NORRISTOWN – An argument about what to name a newborn escalated to the point a man assaulted his girlfriend in the maternity ward of a Montgomery County hospital.
“Essentially, he assaulted a new mother and his conduct was outrageous,” said county Assistant District Attorney Wallis Brooks after Richard Lavon Davis Jr., 23, of Fern Street, Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of simple assault in connection with a January 2012 incident at Lankenau Hospital in Lower Merion.
“The argument stemmed from the name of the newborn child. It’s absurd that an argument over the name of the child would lead to this kind of physical violence against a defenseless woman who is just recovering from one of nature’s most beautiful experiences, the birth of a child,” added Brooks, who leads the district attorney’s domestic violence prosecution unit and who sought a jail sentence against Davis.
Judge Joseph A. Smyth, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, sentenced Davis to eight-to-23 months in the county jail and ordered Davis to complete a domestic violence counseling program. The judge further ordered Davis to have no offensive contact with the victim and to perform 96 hours of community service.
“He’s quite remorseful about what he did. By coming into court and pleading guilty and accepting the sentence of the court that indicates his acceptance of responsibility for his actions,” defense lawyer Gregory Nester said on Davis’ behalf.
An investigation of Davis began about 7:40 p.m. Jan. 15, 2012, when Lower Merion police responded to the hospital on Lancaster Avenue for a report of a domestic disturbance in the maternity ward, according to court papers.
The victim, “stated that she and Davis were having an argument over the name of their newborn child” who was born on Jan. 13, according to the arrest affidavit filed by Lower Merion Police Officer Shawn Clifford.
“During the argument, Davis became agitated and kicked a rolling table towards her, which struck her face as she was seated in a chair,” Clifford alleged, adding Davis also pushed the woman and she fell across a hospital bed.
Davis, who reportedly was holding the baby at the time, then put the baby in a crib before continuing with his “outrageous” behavior.
“(The victim) stated that he then called her some names and punched her twice on the right side of her face,” Clifford alleged, adding responding officers observed some swelling and red discoloration around the victim’s right eye, which was consistent with being punched.
By pleading guilty to simple assault, Davis admitted that he attempted to cause or intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury to another person.
“It was an outrageous case of domestic violence. The fact the defendant would assault a woman who had just given birth and the fact that she’s vulnerable and in a hospital room recovering…is just indicative of the fact he deserves to be punished severely. A period of incarceration was appropriate,” Brooks said.