LIMA — The attorney for a Lima man charged with assaulting his girlfriend on Tuesday expressed concerns that the woman will recant statements made to police surrounding the incident.
A special prosecutor trying the case says he believed the defendant reached out to the alleged victim to persuade her to do just that.
With an Aug. 10 jury trial rapidly approaching, a pretrial hearing was held Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court for Damariante Dillingham, 26, of Lima. Dillingham was indicted by a grand jury in May on charges of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with an attached three-year firearm specification, and felonious assault, a second-degree felony that also carries a three-year firearm spec.
According to court documents, officers from the Lima Police Department responded March 24 to the Lake Circle Apartments in response to a reported assault. Upon their arrival, they spoke with Honesti Mayes, who said she had been assaulted by Dillingham.
The woman said she drove Dillingham from Cheryl’s Bar back to her house. While in the parking lot, Dillingham asked her to have sex, she told police. When she denied the request, he grabbed her wallet, keys and phone and began to exit the vehicle. Mayes told investigators she attempted to retrieve her property, but Dillingham grabbed her by the throat, threw her into the back seat of the car and punched her in the face. He then pulled a black Glock pistol from his pocket and pointed at her, the woman said.
During a court hearing Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court, Chima Ekeh — Dillingham’s attorney — said there is “some indication” that Mayes would recant her statements from the witness stand at trial. Special Prosecutor Al Smith suggested the defense would “open up a can of worms” with that line of questioning, suggesting there has already been “some attempt by the defendant” to get her to change her testimony.
Another issue raised by Ekeh centered around the alleged victim’s mental health. The attorney requested the court to subpoena medical records pertaining to her psychiatric well-being.
Judge Jeffrey Reed took that motion under advisement.
Also at Tuesday’s hearing, Smith put on the record a proposed resolution in the case. He said the state would dismiss the aggravated robbery charge and reduce the firearm specification to one year if Dillingham pleaded guilty to the felonious assault charge.
Dillingham declined that offer.