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Jurors convict man in cell phone assault case

A man accused of shoving a cell phone down a woman's throat was convicted in Missouri Saturday of second-degree domestic assault.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man accused of shoving a cell phone down a woman's throat was convicted Saturday of second-degree domestic assault.

Prosecutors said Marlon Brando Gill, 25, had a history of abusing his former girlfriend, Melinda Abell, before he forced the cell phone into her mouth in December 2005 while they were arguing.

Abell was rushed to a hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery to remove the phone. Doctors said she nearly died of a blocked airway.

The defense said Abell was drunk and tried to swallow the phone to prevent Gill from finding out whom she had been calling.

"The 911 tape showed that Mr. Gill's emotion and concern was real and raw," said William David Langston, Gill's attorney, in a prepared statement. "It was not the voice of a guilty man. He was desperately trying to help save her life. She had no memory of what happened, but as news got out and the jokes began developing on late night TV, the blame turned to Mr. Gill."

But a state witness testified that injuries to Abell's mouth were consistent with the phone being forced into it.

Abell wrote in a statement to police after the incident: "I think he thought I'd been talking to other guys. ... He took my phone to see who I had been calling. ... If I didn't want him to see my phone, I would have just thrown it out the window and busted it."

The charge carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.