Just one year ago, Halliday resident George Misrasi was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he intentionally Tboned his wife’s vehicle, leaving her with a long list of serious injuries.
By BRYCE MARTIN N.D. Group Editor
This week, a jury found Misrasi guilty of that crime, which is a Class B felony and he now faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and $20,000 in fines.
“This particular jury was not swayed by emotion or the defendant’s defense but focused on the last eight seconds of this crime and the victim’s testimony,” Dunn County State’s Attorney (Elect) Pat Merriman told the Dunn County Herald on Tuesday.
Jury trial for the “complex case” began Dec. 10 following a lengthy period for jury selection. An argument between Misrasi and his wife, Lisa, resulted in Misrasi striking the vehicle she occupied with his truck last December. Lisa was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries to her liver, kidneys and spleen. She also experienced a broken collarbone and pelvis.
Deputies with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene near Highway 8 in Halliday and discovered what was originally reported as a crash to be an apparent domestic assault.
Reports presented March 20 at Misrasi’s preliminary hearing indicated that his vehicle was at full acceleration when he crashed into his wife’s vehicle and that he never hit the car’s breaks. His vehicle was traveling near 40 mph, according to the reports.
Merriman laid out the case for jurors and Judge Dann Greenwood in a Stark County courtroom during the felony jury trial over two-and-a-half days.
Merriman called Lisa Misrasi to the stand and she explained that Misrasi “intentionally” accelerated into her vehicle. She said her husband, whom she filed for divorce against earlier this year, did not attempt to stop the car before impact. Ashley Holmes, Misrasi’s defense attorney, told the jury that the moments just before impact were not available in data from the crash. Holmes continued to explain that Misrasi could have attempted to stop the vehicle.
Merriman disagreed and said that could not be known. Holmes attempted to paint a picture of the incident to be more likely that Lisa collided with Misrasi while making a U-turn and that he was unable to stop his car in time. She made that explanation during her closing arguments Dec. 19. Merriman instead summed up the event as an occurrence of an unhappy marriage, as Lisa testified that their marriage was not good prior to the incident.
Merriman suggested that Misrasi was pushed over the edge and that led him to intentionally try to hurt his wife.
Jurors were convinced that Misrasi acted with intent as they rendered a guilty verdict shortly an hour after they entered into deliberation. “We were very pleased with the jury’s attention to detail and support of the victim in this case,” Merriman said. “It is always fascinating to watch justice in action.
It has been a pleasure serving this county and I look forward to my next 4 years in office.” Greenwood ordered a presentence investigation before he would impose sentencing. Merriman said he was unsure what he would recommend for a sentence.