Local Man’s Family Violence Trial Ends Abruptly As First Witness Testifies

Ronald Wayne Kennedy (Jail photo)
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WACO (February 19, 2013)-A state district court judge declared a mistrial Monday in Waco while the first witness was testifying in the trial of a man accused of habitual family violence.

State District Judge Matt Johnson sent prosecutors packing when he determined their first witness violated the rules of court.

Ronald Wayne Kennedy, 42, was being tried on two counts of assault family violence, each enhanced by a prior conviction and each as a habitual offender.

When the first witness, who spoke only Spanish, took the stand she was instructed to testify through an interpreter only on issues pertinent to the charges being levied in the case.

But during her testimony she referred several times to incident that had happened before, which was outside the scope of the current trial.

She was reminded several times that testimony about prior events was improper but she refused to heed those warnings.

After several statements about prior events, Johnson ruled her testimony was improper and declared a mistrial in the case.

Rod Goble, one of Kennedy's defense lawyers said Tuesday the witness testified for about an hour and 15 minutes and by 4:30 p.m. Johnson had halted testimony and declared a mistrial.

Three options remain in the disposition of the case now, Goble said.

Prosecutors can choose to re-try the case, the parties can reach a plea agreement or the charges against Kennedy can be dismissed.

Kennedy remained in the McLennan County Jail Tuesday after Johnson remanded him to custody with no bond.