A former girlfriend of Fresno police officer Brian Heck contends he punched her and kicked her, causing her to feel he “was going to kill me,” according to Fresno Superior Court documents.
The 43-year-old woman said she suffered a concussion, a broken nose, broken ribs, a busted lip and several bruises in the alleged July attack in Heck’s home in Clovis.
Soon after, Clovis police arrested Heck, 46, on domestic violence charges. The District Attorney’s Office later filed two felony charges against him – corporal injury to a cohabitant and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.
Heck has pleaded not guilty and is free on $25,000 bail. His criminal trial is pending.
On Wednesday, Heck, a 23-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department, was ready to defend himself against the allegations, but his ex-girlfriend didn’t show up for a hearing on her civil motion for a restraining order.
“My client struggles every day with this case,” the woman’s lawyer, Mary Castro-Ayala, told Judge Lisa Gamoian. “Her injuries are both physical and emotional.”
Heck’s lawyer, Roger Wilson, asked to continue the hearing, saying Castro-Ayala failed to follow the rules of court when she didn’t provide him with a list of her witnesses and court exhibits. Gamoian granted a continuance until Feb. 20 to allow both sides to be ready for the potentially contentious hearing.
Outside court, Castro-Ayala said her client was ready to testify Wednesday. But once Wilson told her prior to the hearing that he planned to ask for a delay, Castro-Ayala said she told her client that she did not need to go to court.
The woman is seeking a restraining order that would prohibit Heck from contacting her and her 5-year-old son and being within 100 yards of them. To bolster her case, she has submitted photographs of her bruised body. Castro-Ayala said she has medical records that document her client’s injuries.
But in court papers, Wilson says Heck denies striking the woman. Wilson contends that the woman has a history of alcohol abuse and a habit of blacking out when she consumes alcohol.
Wilson signaled in court papers that he plans to argue that the woman made up the allegations. In his presentation, Wilson plans to show the judge a photo of an empty wine bottle and seek testimony from witnesses who saw Heck and the woman at Shaver Lake before the alleged attack.
Heck is a decorated officer who has four lifesaving medals, including in 2001 and 2002. But in 2005, he was accused of excessive force for punching a man three times in the face. Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at the time the man was mentally unbalanced and the aggressor. A police Internal Affairs investigation determined the use of force to be justified, the chief said.
On Wednesday, Dyer said domestic violence is a serious problem in society. As to the conduct of officers, he said: “I take it personally, because I am responsible for the action of our officers, both on- and off-duty.”
But he also said he planned “to be patient” with Heck until his case is resolved.
In court papers, the sides agree that Heck had never physically harmed his former girlfriend before the July 7 incident. “Unfortunately, on this night, something came over (Heck) that I had never seen,” she says in court papers.
The woman, who The Bee is not naming because she is the alleged victim of domestic violence, and her lawyer gave this account in court papers:
She and Heck were at Shaver Lake on July 7 when they began to argue. The pair decided to go home, but during the trip, they argued some more.
At Heck’s home, she made a comment “that caused him to snap.”
His “eyes turned dark and the next few moments were the most terrifying moments of my life,” she says in the court papers.
She says Heck punched her in the nose, causing her to fall on the floor. Heck then stood over her and kicked and stomped on her “with the back of his heel.” She went in and out of consciousness.
“In this moment, I felt as though (he) was going to kill me,” she says in the court papers.
During the beating, the woman recalled Heck saying: “I am going to prison. My life is over.”
Once the beating stopped, the woman grabbed a towel and told Heck she needed fresh air. She said she escaped to a neighbor’s home, where the neighbor called police.
Police arrived around 9:30 p.m. The woman was rushed to a hospital by ambulance, court documents say.
After his arrest, Heck, by law, turned in his firearms to police – 16 of them.
Staff writer Jim Guy contributed to this report. Pablo Lopez: , @beecourts