Michael A. Robertson

Michael A. Robertson (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail / July 15, 2014)

WILLIAMSBURG — A James City man whom police say hit another man over the head with a glass bottle during an altercation last November was convicted of malicious wounding Monday in Circuit Court.

After a more than an hour of testimony, 50-year-old Michael A. Robertson was found guilty of the felony charge. He was acquitted on a charge of misdemeanor assault and battery. Another count of assault and battery and two counts of solicitation of prostitution were dropped.

Officer Jason Slodysko with James City Police testified that he was called to a grassy lot in the 4300 block of Ironbound Road for a report of a malicious wounding. The incident occurred around 9 p.m. on Nov. 22, according to police.

Police located Robertson, who was "extremely intoxicated and had blood on his face," according to a criminal complaint. Slodysko told the court he also observed a man, identified as Rodney White, whose head was cut and bloody.

White testified that earlier that afternoon he and Robertson had been at his mother's house drinking, then walked to a neighbors home where they consumed more alcohol. He noted that his sister and niece were present.

"He started soliciting sex from both of them, offering them 500 dollars for sex," White said.

All three left. White went to his mother's house nearby while his sister went to Robertson's home. Pamela Green, told the court she went to tell Robertson's wife what happened. Robertson followed, and became belligerent.

White said he overheard Robertson cursing at his sister, and watched for a few minutes before walking over to them. He said he repeatedly told Robertson to stop disrespecting his sister.

Robertson had a glass bottle in his hand and swung it at Rodney White, according to White's testimony.

"As I ducked he caught the back of my head," Rodney White said.

Slodysko said no glass was found at the scene, but explained officer safety was the primary concern. He noted that when a handful of officers arrived there were 30-40 people there.

After the initial altercation, White said a larger fight broke out.

"It was like a ripple effect," Green said. "Everybody just kind of fell on top of each other."

White admitted to exchanging threatening words with Robertson prior to the first blow being thrown, but said he never raised a hand. Michaela Merritt, Robertson's daughter, told the court White "started messing with my dad" and was the first to lay hands on someone.

Merritt said a third man hit her father, then several others present began kicking him and throwing things. She said the fight only stopped when someone called police.

Robertson told the court that wasn't the way things transpired.

He testified that Rodney White and his family members left the neighbor's house, and on his way home he encountered Rodney White in his yard.

Robertson added that he told Rodney White and the others to leave his yard. "Next thing I knew they were beating me," Robertson said.

He said Rodney White's niece hit him with a chair, then everyone jumped him. Robertson said he suffered a broken nose, rib and pelvis.

Asked by Josh DeFord, assistant commonwealth attorney, whether he hit Rodney White, Robertson denied having a bottle while outside much less hitting the other man with it. Robertson testified that Rodney White was struck in the head by the chair his niece allegedly had during the altercation.

Defense attorney Richard Collins made a motion to strike, arguing the Commonwealth's evidence was incredible.

"If you look at the Commonwealth's case," he said. "Every single one of their witnesses contradicts each other."

Judge Michael E. McGinty said there was "no question" Robertson was hit with objects, but agreed that it did not make sense for the injuries to have happened prior to the larger altercation.

Robertson will be sentenced in September.

Susan Robertson can be reached at 757-345-2342.