Jury mulling: Was assault more?

Defense attorney says man just beat his ex, didn't try to murder her

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A jury began deliberating Friday afternoon whether a Portland man intended to commit murder when he allegedly beat, raped and strangled his former girlfriend inside her Vancouver home on St. Patrick's Day last year in what Clark County sheriff's detectives described as one of the worst domestic violence cases of their careers.

"I'm going to rape you. I'm going to kill you. I'm going to take all of your money," the defendant, Charles E. Paschal, repeatedly said during the attack, according to Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Nisle. When the woman tried to flee out the front door, he pulled her upstairs by her hair, Nisle said.

The 32-year-old woman eventually escaped by running out of the house's back door when her assailant was distracted. Wearing only a bra and covered in blood, she scaled two fences and banged on the door of a nearby home, where shocked residents helped her call 911 at about 4 a.m. March 17, 2013.

Paschal, 34, is charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and two counts of second-degree assault.

Deliberations in his trial began Friday and are scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

During closing arguments Friday, defense attorney Gregg Schile argued that Paschal is guilty only of second-degree assault. "I'm not defending domestic violence," he said. "It's not a good thing. Also, it's not a good thing to have someone facing an attempted murder charge when it doesn't add up."

Paschal, who is a former Oregon state wrestling champion, admitted on the stand Thursday to striking the woman five times in the face. He said he reacted in anger when she slapped him during a spat over his smoking cigarettes indoors. However, when confronted with a photograph of the victim's face, swollen and bloody beyond recognition, Paschal denied he had caused all of the injuries shown.

Failed attempt to kill called unlikely

Schile said that the woman may have sustained some of her injuries from scrambling over fences during her escape.

"He's a man who's trained; he knows how to wrestle," Schile said. "If he did that (attacked her) for that period of time and he wanted her dead, she'd be dead."

Sheriff's detectives Kevin Allais and Beth Luvera testified that the attack was one of the worst instances of domestic violence they'd seen during their respective careers.

Detectives said they found blood spatter on the woman's kitchen cabinets, dishwasher and living room carpet. Her clothes and his boxers were found on the living room floor, where the woman testified the rape took place, according to testimony.

Paschal said the blood came from her spitting after one of his blows gave her a nosebleed. He said he refused to call an ambulance but offered to take her to the hospital. "I don't really like 911 in my business," he said.

However, he said, he insisted that they both shower before he would drive her to the hospital, and that's why their clothes were in the living room.

"I thought she would have more sense than to run out of the house with no clothes on," he said.

After she ran away, he said he went to a friend's house to collect his thoughts and then decided to turn himself in later that morning by returning to the woman's house, where detectives were already investigating.

Nisle said the woman still had injuries, including fingerprint bruises, marks on her neck, black eyes and broken blood vessels in her eyes, 10 days after the attack.

"The blood went backward in her veins to the point (her doctor) could see blood in her eyes," Nisle said.

She showed the jury before-and-after photographs of the woman; she was unrecognizable after the attack, apparently even to her regular physician, Nisle said.