A Butler County businessman was sentenced to five years of community control on Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for assaulting his wife at their West Chester Twp. home in March 2019.
Jeffery Couch, 52, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a fourth-degree felony, in January for causing a head injury to his wife during an argument outside of their Tamarron Drive house.
Couch was arrested during the early-morning hours of March 2, 2019 and later indicted by a Butler County grand jury for felonious assault, a second-degree felony, attempted felonious assault and misdemeanor domestic violence.
As part of the plea agreement, the felonious assault charge was reduced to aggravated assault, and the other charges were dismissed.
Couch faced the maximum of 18 months in prison.
“From the beginning of this case, I was aware from experience, as all prosecutors are, that felony assaults involving family members carry special challenges,” said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser. “ … Unlike assaults between strangers and non-family members, there exists love, social and financial consequences that uniquely affect a victim.”
The Couches were arguing before the assault, according to prosecutors.
“As a result of him snapping there was an assault that ended up with the imprint of Shelley Couch’s head on an asphalt driveway in two places … an earring (was) found in one of the bloody imprints,” Gmoser said in January.
Gmoser said before sentencing that Shelley Couch testified at grand jury that she had no memory of the actual assault, but other evidence was available.
Couch is the owner of Jeff Couch’s RV Nation in Trenton.
Shelley Couch was seated in the front row of the courtroom on Monday, and other friends and family were also in attendance. The couple have reunited, and Couch was permitted to move back into the home after the guilty plea.
Defense attorney R. Scott Croswell III told Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster Jr. that Couch has undergone alcohol treatment and anger management sessions and accepts responsibility for his actions.
“This is the first physical confrontation the two of them have had in 30 years of marriage. Jeff is not by nature a violent person or a physical person,” Croswell said. “It is true, it is not an excuse, that the entire evening was alcohol-fueled. My client was intoxicated, his wife was intoxicated and in a 10-second breach of good conduct, his life, his world was turned upside down.”
Couch waited a few moments before speaking when the judge asked him if he had a statement.
“I would just like to apologize to my wife, my kids, I take full responsibility … I am sorry,” Couch said through a strained voice.
In addition to community control, Oster ordered Couch not to consume alcohol and complete 100 hours of community service.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.