Fresno businessman Kelly Duley was found guilty Wednesday of smashing a cocktail glass into the face of a woman inside a Tower District bar and grill in July 2013.
Surrounded by bailiffs, Duley, 45, sat quietly as the verdict was announced in Fresno County Superior Court. Extra security was on hand because during the trial, he had called the prosecutor and victim liars in front of the jury.
Duley, who had been free on $140,000 bail, was handcuffed and taken to the Fresno County Jail until his sentencing hearing on March 14. He faces 38 years to life in prison because he has prior felony convictions. Defense lawyer Glen Neal said he plans to ask Judge Timothy Kams to give Duley a lesser sentence.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated over three days before finding Duley, owner of Duley’s Quality Painting, guilty of felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery that caused great bodily injury to Sarah Fisher, 29, who testified that she received 29 stitches on her face and nine on her chest to close gashes caused by the broken cocktail glass.
After the verdict was announced, prosecutor Andrew Janz said: “It’s very appropriate that Sarah Fisher finally gets justice on International Women’s Day.” Janz also thanked the jury “for their service and attention to details in this case.”
It’s very appropriate that Sarah Fisher finally gets justice on International Women’s Day.
Prosecutor Andrew Janz
The altercation happened just after midnight July 17, 2013, inside the now-closed Score Sports Cafe & Lounge on Olive Avenue.
At issue was whether Duley willfully hit Fisher with a cocktail glass after she slapped him and punched him in the mouth.
During the trial, Janz told the jury that five witnesses saw Duley hit Fisher in the face with a cocktail glass. Duley testified that Fisher instigated the fight by slapping him twice before hitting him with a beer bottle. But no one saw Fisher hit Duley with a beer bottle, Neal conceded.
Neal argued that Duley was defending himself against Fisher, saying she was the aggressor who drank alcohol while on medication for a bipolar disorder. Neal told the jury that Fisher, who testified she was 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds at the time of the altercation, hit the 6-foot, 200-pound Duley so hard that her punch to his jaw felt like being hit with a beer bottle. “She’s a big, strong woman,” Neal said.
After being “hit on the button,” Duley was knocked out temporarily, causing him to fall forward with the glass in his hand, Neal said. The glass smashed into Fisher’s face in a downward motion toward her chest accidentally, he said.
Neal also theorized that after Duley was punched, “he reacted unconsciously”; reflexes caused his arms to flail outward and Fisher was hit with the glass. In either scenario, Neal argued that “it was not done willfully.”
Janz contended that Duley struck Fisher with a cocktail glass after she rejected his advances. But Duley testified that he didn’t even find Fisher attractive.
Duley faces a stiff prison sentence because he has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm.
According to Fisher, she had just finished singing a song during karaoke when she decided to pay her bar tab. She said she found an open spot at the bar next to Duley, whom she didn’t know personally but knew was a regular patron of the bar. Fisher testified that Duley immediately grabbed her around her waist, pulled her toward him and said: “You can pay your bar tab here.”
Fisher said she told Duley five or six times to let her go. When he didn’t, she slapped him.
Later that night, Duley said he went to an outside patio of the sports bar to smoke a cigarette. There, he encountered Fisher again.
He testified that Fisher sneered at him. He then went up to Fisher and asked her why she slapped him. He then told Fisher: “I don’t like you. You’re not my girlfriend. You’re not even attractive.”
That is when Fisher slapped him again, Duley testified, saying he then threw his drink into her face. Duley said Fisher then grabbed a Bud Light beer bottle and hit him in the chin, causing the bottle to break. Duley testified he didn’t know what happened afterward because he said he fell dazed to the ground.
Fisher’s account is different. She has testified that she was talking to bouncers about throwing Duley out of the bar for grabbing her. She said Duley then walked by her and mocked her, saying that he loved to be slapped, and called her “a whore – just like your mother.” Fisher testified she cursed right back. She testified that when Duley lunged at her, she punched him in the jaw.
Duley responded by hitting Fisher with his cocktail glass.
Duley faces a stiff prison sentence because court records say he was convicted previously for assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm. The two convictions constitute two strikes under the Three Strikes repeat offender law. Neal said he plans to filed a motion that asks Kams to strike the prior convictions since they are both over two decades old.