The damage from a 2021 assault was visible during testimony Wednesday in the trial of the man accused of inflicting it.
Kristopher Werner Gohl, 45, Lawton is currently facing trial for a felony charge of aggravated assault and battery, but in Comanche County District Judge Emmit Tayloe’s courtroom on Wednesday, his alleged victim was not able to identify him on security footage.
Gohl is accused of striking the male victim three times with a baseball bat on April 15, 2021. The victim was then taken to Comanche County Memorial Hospital in a coma and was later taken to AMG Specialty Hospital in Oklahoma City for long-term assisted living care. He is now handicapped and needs assistance.
Witness Michelle Lackey, who works for a nursing home, recalled she had been providing assistance and social services to the victim for almost two years, such as organizing video chats with his daughter.
Due to his severe injuries, the victim was unable to verbally answer questions on Wednesday, instead nodding or shaking his head to indicate “yes” or “no” answers.
After playing the security video, Assistant District Attorney John Roose asked the victim if he knew “the person on the concrete stairs with the baseball bat.” Both District Attorney Roose and Tayloe noted a “negative response” by the victim.
The victim’s daughter, Juliana Nicole Wheeler, also testified on Wednesday. She recalled that she saw him in the hospital on April 19, 2021, four days after the incident. According to her, he had a bandage around his head and a breathing tube in his mouth.
“He wasn’t able to talk, he couldn’t move around,” she said.
Testimony resumes Thursday morning.