Former College of the Redwoods basketball coach Aaron Hungerford was held to answer yesterday on charges of vandalism and corporal injury to a cohabitant, but Judge Christoper Wilson called the case a “marginal” one that probably wouldn’t convince a jury to convict.
Hungerford was arrested at his Eureka home on Jan. 10 after his girlfriend called police during an argument. The girlfriend, who is still living with Hungerford, had an apparent cigarette burn on her arm. She had a minor toe injury from having her foot slammed in a door.
Wilson reduced Hungerford’s felony domestic violence charge to a misdemeanor. He held him to answer under the “probable cause” standard that applies at preliminary hearings, but said he didn’t think a trial jury using the “reasonable doubt” standard would be convinced of his guilt.
“My suspicion is this would be a very difficult case to prove in that respect,” the judge said.
Hungerford’s girlfriend “Jane Doe” testified that the couple argued because she wanted to break up but didn’t want to leave their house until the next day. Hungerford wanted her out immediately, and an argument ensued.
When she was on the front porch, Doe said, “He was smoking a cigarette and he was blowing smoke in my face.” Hungerford warned her she was going to get burned, she said, and when she grabbed for the cigarette she did.
During the altercation, Doe said, she tripped and fell on the front porch. One of her feet was stuck in the door, and Hungerford slammed it.
“When I said ‘My foot!’ he opened the door,” she recalled. He then slammed the door again.
Doe said Hungerford also slashed one of the tires on her car.
In making his ruling, Wilson said the injuries appeared to be accidental. As for the tire, it was not clear whether it was punctured or just went flat on its own.
“Obviously these people are back together,” the judge said, “and it was a single incident.”
For now, Hungerford’s jury trial is set for June 10. He also also has a separate case for allegedly driving drunk about two weeks before the incident with his girlfriend.
Hungerford, who was head coach of CR’s men’s team, was fired three days after being arrested on the DUI charge.