LIMA — The jury reached a verdict Thursday in the trial of a Lima man accused of physically assaulting the mother of his child while she was driving in two separate incidents in 2021.
Keyown Pryor, 28, was found guilty of two counts of domestic violence, third-degree felonies, as well as a single count of burglary, a second-degree felony.
He was acquitted on three first-degree felony counts of kidnapping and a single count of grand theft of a motor vehicle, a felony of the fourth degree. He was, however, convicted of a lesser charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The domestic violence charges on which he was convicted stem from two incidents in which Rachel Hooker, the mother of the defendant’s child, alleged that Pryor repeatedly struck her as she was driving with Pryor and their child in the vehicle. Pryor was acquitted on charges of kidnapping Hooker in these incidents, as well as kidnapping their child and stealing Hooker’s car when he fled from the scene on Dec. 6.
The burglary conviction stemmed from Pryor hiding from authorities in a home on Dec. 6 on Weadock Avenue without permission, as testified by the home’s resident. Body camera footage of his arrest in the attic of the residence was shown as evidence in the case.
Pryor took the stand as the defense’s only witness Thursday to maintain his innocence in the seven charges against him. He testified that, contrary to the testimony of Hooker and other witnesses, he was not the aggressor in either incident. Rather, he claimed that he is “not an argumentative person.”
During cross-examination, Prosecuting Attorney Mariah Cunningham pressed on this claim, asking him how Hooker received the injuries shown to jurors in photos taken after both incidents.
Pryor speculated that Hooker might have received the bruising from the incident on Nov. 28 after he says he “mugged” her in self-defense.
“I was being attacked,” he said. “I went to push her in the arm and mugged her in the face.”
“That’s not being argumentative?” Cunningham asked. “Causing bruising to the mother of your child?”
“I was trying to get away from the situation,” he responded.
Pryor further became indignant when Cunningham asked him about his previous felony convictions.
“Let me ask you a question,” he retorted during cross-examination, a remark that brought immediate reproval from Judge Terri Kohlrieser. Judge Kohlrieser reminded him that she warned him before agreeing to testify that the prosecution could ask about his prior convictions.
After Pryor’s testimony, the defense rested its case, and the trial moved to closing arguments.
Attorney Cunningham told the jurors that, through the evidence and witness testimony presented in the trial, the state had proven Pryor’s guilt in all seven counts beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defense attorney Chima Ekeh said in his closing that his client is “not a perfect man,” but told jurors that there are “two versions of events… it comes down to which one you believe.”
Ekeh labeled Hooker as a “drama queen” and said that her actions were “dramatic shenanigans,” adding that “she will tell a lie to get him locked up.”
During her rebuttal, Cunningham said that multiple law enforcement officers had testified during the trial that Hooker’s version of events had remained consistent throughout all portions of the investigation.
The verdicts in the case being reached, Pryor’s sentencing will be set at a later date.