Bryant L. "Bo" Feister found not guilty of felonious assault

·4 min read

NEW PHILADELPHIA — A 33-year-old Goshen Township man has been found not guilty of two counts of felonious assault lodged against him.

The charges against Bryant L. "Bo" Feister, of 585 Barnhill Road SE, arose from an altercation that happened after a neighbor asked him to quiet down an outdoor party at 3:30 a.m. Oct. 24.

After 50 minutes of deliberation on Friday, a jury returned not-guilty verdicts on both charges. One alleged that he attacked Dustin Stoll with a deadly weapon — a two-by-four. Another alleged that he seriously injured Stoll.

"My family deserves justice," Feister said after the trial.

Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos presided over the trial that started June 9 in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court.

The defense team of attorneys Kimberly Kendall Corral of Cleveland and Marian D. Davidson of Lisbon successfully argued that Feister acted in self-defense.

In his opening statement, assistant county prosecutor Fred Scott said that Feister got angry and went too far.

Scott said Feister pulled Stoll from his truck, punched him and hit him with the wood, then followed Stoll to the victim's back porch, where he continued to hit him with the two-by-four until he left Stoll bruised, beaten, scarred and severely bleeding.

He said Stoll needed about 16 stitches to close the gash on his head.

Corral, the defense attorney, said in her opening statement that the prosecution's explanation for what happened was "ridiculous" and a "fairy tale." She said Feister's DNA was not found on the lumber, although Stoll's was.

She said Stoll did not politely ask Feister to reduce the volume at his party, and that Feister had reason to fear Stoll.

"He has subjected not just Bo, but his children, his wife, his family, his babysitters, even, to his uncontrolled temper, his penchant for violence and his obsession with guns, pointing guns, waving guns, even at children," Corral said. "He has repeatedly threatened Bo and his family."

Corral said Stoll had previously pointed a gun at Feister's 10-year-old son.

She said Stoll gave varying accounts of the number of times he was hit on Oct. 24.

"Not once have we ever seen in some account where he's chased around, being beaten with a two-by-four over and over. That was new to us, just today," Corral said.

The defense attorney said that Stoll got into his truck on Oct. 24 to try to run people over.

"He hit a woman with his truck," Corral said.

She said Stoll hit Feister so hard that he suffered permanent hearing loss.

Corral said Feister followed Stoll to the porch to prevent him from getting a gun to fulfill his threat to shoot him.

Scott gave this account of the altercation:

Feister had a campfire on his property, where his family and friends were gathered. Stoll thought the party was loud, and asked Feister to quiet it down in a nonconfrontational manner. As Feister and five people from Feister's group approached him, Stoll got into his truck. After Feister punched him through the window opening, Stoll pulled into the area's cul-de-sac and back into his driveway. Feister pulled Stoll from the truck, began beating him and grabbed a piece of wood and hit him with it. Stoll pushed Feister, who fell into a pile of miscellaneous items in Stoll's driveway. Feister chased Stoll onto the porch. Feister hit him again. Stoll fell over a dog cage. Feister picked him up, put him in a sleeper hold and asked a woman to kick Stoll in the face. She complied, chipping his teeth. Feister stopped after Stoll heard someone scream, "You're going to kill him." Stoll entered his home and called 911.

Feister's codefendant Abby J. Willison, 25, of Dennison, was found guilty of two charges of felonious assault after changing her initial not-guilty plea.

Corral said the sheriff's department did not investigate the incident until after they confirmed that Feister would be charged with felonious assault.

"And that's important because it means that every report you see was not written for the purpose of a sound investigation meant to produce reliable results," Corral told the jury at the outset of the trial. "It was written for the purpose of prevailing in prosecution. Unreliable investigations produce unreliable results."

Reach Nancy at 330-364-8402 or nancy.molnar@timesreporter.com.

On Twitter: @nmolnarTR

This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Goshen Township man found not guilty of two counts felonious assault