WILMINGTON — With a jury selected, the trial of a local man accused of assaulting his roommate with a machete last July began Tuesday afternoon in Clinton County Common Pleas Court.
Lee DeBord, 50, is charged with two counts of felony 2 felonious assault and felony 3 tampering with evidence.
Multiple witnesses will testify before a 12-person jury with one alternate — seven men and six women — in Judge John “Tim” Rudduck’s courtroom.
DeBord allegedly assaulted his roommate, Roger Tucker, 30, at their residence in the community of Cuba, south of Wilmington. DeBord and Tucker lived with each other along with their respective girlfriends.
DeBord had fled the scene of the crime in a camouflage-painted pickup truck and evaded authorities for about a week until he was apprehended in Clermont County, authorities said then, adding they believed this wasn’t a “random act of violence.”
A self-defense claim was made by DeBord during a hearing in October.
The first testimony came from Dr. Gregory Semon, a trauma surgeon at Miami Valley Hospital who performed the operation on Tucker when he was transported via CareFlight from Clinton County.
Semon went into detail on the severity of Tucker’s wounds — including a three-inch wound on Tucker’s neck that had a severe bleed — which he described as “one of the worst” he’s seen. He also talked about the procedures needed, including work needed to be done on Tucker’s right wrist. Photos taken by Semon were presented as evidence to the jury.
Tucker was next to speak. He recalled moving into the residence with his girlfriend, Crystal Coburn.
In his testimony, he claimed they had been arguing because DeBord wanted him and Coburn to move out. On the day of the incident, he said the two argued earlier in the day and then went to confront him about making them move out earlier than expected. That’s when he was allegedly attacked.
He testified he left the residence and went to his neighbors’ home — brothers Bill and Larry Kelsey. Bill Kelsey, who testified along with his brother, recalled that when Tucker arrived he was bleeding heavily and was saying, “Please don’t let me die” and, “Don’t let him kill me.”
Tucker, Kelsey, and Crystal Coburn testified that, while at the Kelsey residence, they recalled DeBord allegedly screaming, “Next time I’ll cut your head off” in one way or another.
Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy John Bailey was the first law enforcement official to speak; he was the first one to respond to the incident.
The trial continues Wednesday.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574