Hawkins County man allegedly threatened to kill girlfriend, child after assault

Jeff Bobo • Dec 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM

CHURCH HILL — A Surgoinsville man who allegedly threatened to kill his girlfriend, her child, and her family was arrested early Sunday morning at a Church Hill motel.

Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, CHPD Officer Bryan Pellegrino responded to a domestic assault complaint at the Church Hill Inn motel on Volunteer Street just off of Highway 11-W.

“Upon arrival, I made contact with a white female who identified herself to be victim Amber Acuff,” Pellegrino stated in his report. “The victim stated that she and her boyfriend, Howard Ward, were driving from Kingsport toward Church Hill Inn, where they were staying. She stated that they got into an argument and Howard Ward started to assault her.

“Acuff stated Ward punched her on the right side of her face, punched her on her lip, choked her, and pulled her hair — all this was occurring while he was driving in Church Hill on Highway 11-W toward The Church Hill Inn.”

Acuff also stated that when they arrived at the motel, Ward, 42, 1189 Millers Bluff Road, Surgoinsville, told her that he would kill her and her son and family if she called police or told anyone.

Ward went to the room, but she reportedly didn’t follow him because she was “scared.”

Instead she called her sister, and her sister called 911.

Pellegrino stated in his report that he observed Acuff's right eye to be swollen and bruised, her lip was bloodied and swollen, and there were red marks on both side of her neck.

Pellegrino added, “I observed in plain view a white straw inside the rented room of Mr. Ward and a white powdery substance/residue on the table in Mr. Ward's room. Mr. Ward, during my investigation, was not cooperative and was not adhering to my lawful orders while he was being detained. Ward stated that he never touched her, and she has a cold sore on her lip, and the straw with residue was the victim’s — not his.”

Ward was charged with domestic assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court. A Jan. 16 trial date was set, and as of Monday Ward remained held in the Hawkins County Jail on $2,500 bond.

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