CLEARFIELD – After deliberating for almost five hours Friday, a jury found a state trooper who served on the governor’s detail not guilty of the most serious charges.
Terry D. Jordan, 47, of Clearfield was found not guilty of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and one count of simple assault.
Jordan was found guilty of one count of simple assault/bodily injury. He had been accused of assaulting his wife and holding her at gunpoint at their Golden Rod residence April 21.
After the verdict, Jordan’s attorney Bryan Walk asked for a bail reduction, which wasn’t disputed by the commonwealth. His bail was subsequently set at $5,000 unsecured.
Because the county was closed at the time of the verdict, Jordan was going to be processed for release and asked to appear Monday to sign his bail paperwork. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim or witnesses in the case.
The jurors entered deliberations at approximately 1:30 p.m. and returned their verdict at 6:06 p.m. During their deliberations, jurors had two questions at 3:41 p.m. and 5:41 p.m.
The first question was to hear the elements for simple assault. The second question was to hear the definition of simple assault/bodily injury and recklessly endangering another person.
After the verdict, President Judge Fredric Ammerman ordered a pre-sentencing investigation by the probation department. Jordan will appear for sentencing within 60 days.
Jordan’s conviction on the simple assault charge for domestic violence will mean he cannot carry a firearm and end his career with the state police. He’s been incarcerated for five months and will likely get a sentence of time-served with consecutive probation, said District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr.
“It was important to bring this case to a jury to decide,” he said. “If police and if the DA’s office hadn’t pursued this case, the public would have lost its confidence in the system.”
He continued, saying, “It was important to treat it like any other case. That’s why we told the jury, ‘don’t treat him more or less harsh’ than anyone else.”
Although a jury needed to be the judge, he believed a broken rib was not a simple assault but an aggravated assault case. “I think a broken rib is serious bodily injury,” Shaw said.
“It took the jury almost five hours, so there had to be some debate.” He noted the jury’s questions and final verdict were consistent, and the system did what it was intended to do.
In his closing Friday morning, Walk argued that the commonwealth’s case was “riddled” with doubt, inconsistencies and falsehoods.
He called jurors’ attention to the fact that the victim had added some details about the magnitude of the assault when she testified in court.
When he pressed her to confirm if or when she had ever reported these details to police, he said that she conveniently claimed everything happened so quickly, she was shaken up or did not recall exactly.
After the couple left the dinner party around 10:14 p.m. April 21, he said the victim began ranting about Jordan’s previous affair, they would have arrived home in five minutes or so, and her 911 call was not until 10:59 p.m.
“There’s 45 minutes,” Walk said, arguing that more had likely happened than what was testified to in court.
He said she initially reported to police that Jordan assaulted her in the hallway, then they somehow ended up in the bedroom and she added being choked until she couldn’t breathe, a detail that she hadn’t told anyone in the past six months.
According to the defense’s version of the incident, the victim was upset about Jordan’s previous affair, he made a “smart” [expletive] remark to her and the victim punched him in the mouth for it.
He said Jordan pushed her to distance himself from her, and she ended up stumbling into the wall. He walked by to the bedroom to let the situation cool off, and the victim followed him back and came in swinging because she was drunk and mad.
He said Jordan grabbed the victim by her arms to restrain her and their legs entangled, and this caused them to hit a dresser or chair on their way to the floor.
After that he said the victim was biting Jordan, and he had to knee her in the side in order to get her to stop and to free his right wrist.
He argued that Jordan never held her at gunpoint while she had reported this to 911 as occurring at the same time he was getting his car keys to leave the residence.
Additionally, he argued that it was not reasonable to believe Jordan would have located the holster somewhere on the floor and then placed the weapon back inside of it before he left.
Walk said in presenting their defense case, it was important to lay out Jordan’s career with the Pennsylvania State Police. “It fits his character,” he said.
According to him, Jordan handled this incident with his wife as officers would advise in any other domestic dispute by leaving, driving around for a while and diffusing the situation.
Walk told jurors that while they may believe that Jordan is a womanizer, he wasn’t on trial for having an affair.
Shaw countered in his closing by again presenting the photographs that depicted the victim’s injuries. He said they were indicative that she’d been punched, kicked, choked and had a gun barrel pressed against her head. He also called jurors’ attention to the testimony from the emergency room doctor who described the victim’s displaced broken rib as a “very debilitating” injury.
He said Jordan’s actions couldn’t be justified as self-defense while he testified that he wasn’t even in fear of the victim or of being harmed by her.
He also said it wasn’t even reasonable to believe that Jordan – given his physical size and experience as a state trooper – would need to knee her to get away. “You can only use the force necessary, and this was far too excessive,” Shaw said.
“He’s over 6-foot tall, weighs over 100 pounds more than the victim, goes to the gym every other day and is a trained state trooper and in the governor’s detail. Don’t you think he’s trained? C’mon.”
Shaw argued that Jordan wanted to come into court and point out all of his family and friends who were there to support him. He said this didn’t prove or disprove anything that occurred April 21.
However, he said that night Jordan had gone to see the woman with whom he’d previously had an affair and admitted that he’d beaten the [expletive] out of his wife and held a gun to her head. Jordan also commented to police when he was being taken into custody that “I’m [expletive].”
“He didn’t say, ‘hey, I didn’t do this. She assaulted me.’ He didn’t say that because that’s not what happened. He knew he was [expletive],” Shaw said.
Shaw then accused Jordan of coming in and telling jurors about his career as a state trooper in hopes of getting some preferential treatment. He concluded by asking jurors to treat Jordan as an “ordinary Joe.”