By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A North Manchester man received a suspended jail sentence after battering a woman that required hospital care.
Zackery Alexander Drudge, 28, 206 E. 5th St., North Manchester, was charged with domestic battery, a level 6 felony.
Drudge was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court 1 on Monday, Oct. 19.
On March 25, a Warsaw Police officer went to an area regarding a report of a woman screaming. While officers were on their way to the scene, several other 911 calls about the incident were received, with one caller saying a woman had a facial injury.
Officers found a woman who was bleeding from her forehead. She also had a cut above her left eye, which was swollen shut. The woman’s nose was bleeding and she had a large amount of swelling on her left cheekbone area.
According to court documents, the woman said she and Drudge had been drinking when Drudge got mad about something and punched her in the head and face.
An officer spoke with Drudge at the scene. When the officer approached him, Drudge was crouched on a floor and was crying. While speaking with the officer, Drudge said “he didn’t think that he could do that.”
The woman was taken to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne with suspected broken facial bones.
During court proceedings, the victim was called to testify and described the incident as “out-of-character” for Drudge. She also said she didn’t want a no-contact order to continue being established between herself and Drudge.
“He’s one of the nicest people…understanding, very charismatic,” said the woman.
The woman said in her testimony that Drudge needs help with substance abuse and mental health issues.
“I truly don’t think jail time is the right answer,” said the woman.
Defense Attorney Austin Rovenstine advocated that probation and mental health counseling both be part of Drudge’s sentence. Drudge also apologized for his actions in court.
For domestic battery, Kosciusko Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates gave Drudge a two-year suspended jail sentence. Drudge has 154 days of jail time credit; the sentence will also be served consecutively to two criminal misdemeanor cases. As part of his sentence, Drudge must seek treatment at the Bowen Center.
The no-contact order between Drudge and the woman will continue to be in place until Drudge completes counseling at the Bowen Center.
“Take advantage of the opportunity,” said Cates.