Man sentenced to 8 months; testifies he looked for homeless person to harass

Scott Ford appeared in court May 17, 2022 on multiple felony charges after authorities say he nearly ran down a homeless man and his cat last May.

Scott Ford appeared in court May 17, 2022 on multiple felony charges after authorities say he nearly ran down a homeless man and his cat last May.

ASHEVILLE – Scott Everett Ford — the man charged with trying to run over a homeless man and his cat in 2021 — was sentenced to an eight-month active jail sentence.

Ford, 42, was found guilty of felony obstruction of justice and felony cruelty to animals, as well as multiple misdemeanor charges, according to a news release from Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams’ office.

A video capturing the incident was shared by the Asheville Police Department in May 2021.

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Neither the man nor his cat was injured, police said at the time.

“At trial, Ford testified and acknowledged that he was the driver of the truck,” the release says. “Ford further testified that he was looking for an unhoused person to harass and that he intended to throw a golf ball at an unhoused person. Investigators were able to recover a golf ball from the victim.”

“We are pleased that the jury agreed with us that Mr. Ford did not act with the intent to kill or injure anyone,” Ford’s attorney, Andrew Banzhoff, told the Citizen Times. “Since the other matters are on appeal, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”

Ford was originally charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, but was convicted of the lesser crime of simple assault.

Investigators with the Asheville Police Department “determined that the vehicle was owned by Classic Event Rental,” Ford’s own business, the release says.

He obstructed investigators by destroying business documents that police requested, which would have identified him as the man driving the truck, the release says.

A previous trial scheduled for Ford in May had to be thrown out because someone either tested positive for or was exposed to COVID-19.

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During jury selection for that trial, attorneys representing Ford and the state asked potential jurors whether an animal cruelty charge might make it difficult for them to look at the case objectively, whether they were a “cat or dog person,” whether they were in any animal rights groups and even whether they were members of Asheville Cat Weirdos—a Facebook group that apparently took interest in the case.

Superior Court Judge Alan Thornburg sentenced Ford to serve an eight-month active sentence to be followed by a suspended sentence, with a supervised probation for 24 months, according to the release. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Ryan Oehrli is the breaking news and social justice reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times. Email or call/text 252-944-6816 for tips.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Asheville hit and run: Driver gets 8 months in man, cat homeless case

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