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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 3, 2014

Federal Jury Finds Veteran From Texas Guilty on Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charge

Defendant Assaulted his Wife on Grounds of Veterans Administration Complex

ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury returned a verdict Friday evening finding a veteran guilty on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge after a three-day trial.  Leslie Chapman, 45, a veteran from Abilene, Texas, was convicted on an aggravated battery against a household member charge, and acquitted of the misdemeanor offense of interfering with communications.

Chapman was arrested on a criminal complaint alleging that he assaulted his wife on the grounds of the Veterans Administration complex in Albuquerque, N.M., on Jan. 26, 2014.  He subsequently was charged in a misdemeanor information with aggravated battery against a household member, interference with communications, and possession of a firearm in a Veterans Administration facility.  The firearms charge was dismissed by the United States prior to trial.

Chapman’s trial began on Oct. 29, 2014, and concluded on the evening of Oct. 31, 2014, when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the domestic violence charge and not guilty on the interference with communications charge.  The evidence at trial established that on the evening of Jan. 26, 2014, officers of the Department of Veterans Affairs Police Department responded to a call reporting a physical disturbance involving a man and a woman at a lodging hall in the Veterans Administration complex in Albuquerque, N.M.  On arrival, the officers found the victim, upset and crying.

The victim reported that Chapman assaulted her in their room by hitting her in the chest, head, neck, back and arms.  The victim also reported that Chapman refused to let her leave the room and grabbed her telephone while she was talking to a relative.  The officers observed physical injuries on the victim, including bruising, swelling and scratches on the victim’s fingers, hand and arm.

Chapman testified in his own defense and denied assaulting the victim.  Chapman claimed that the victim assaulted him.  Chapman also denied that he prevented the victim from making telephone calls to seek assistance.

Chapman remains on conditions of release pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Chapman faces a statutory maximum penalty of a year in prison and/or five years of probation.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Police Department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Mott and William J. Pflugrath.

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Updated January 26, 2015