Shirrell sentencedPublished 8:00am Wednesday, November 18, 2009
CASSOPOLIS – Dinner, drinks and dancing were all Shaune Timm and Paul Butler had on their mind when they pulled into the Hideaway Bar parking lot at 2628 Lakeshore Drive in Howard Township on a warm July evening last summer.
But the food, fun and frivolity came to a violent conclusion at the end of the night when they were ambushed while getting into their pickup to go home.
On Tuesday, a five-man, one-woman jury deliberated for approximately 20 minutes before unanimously convicting Janice Marie Shirrell, 2350 Terminal St., of assault and battery for her midnight attack on Shaune Timm in the Hideaway Bar parking lot.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz indicated that “the defendant’s actions were cowardly and predatory in nature.”
Testimony from Timm and Butler established that they were enjoying a night out at the Hideaway Bar when sometime after 12 a.m. on July 12, 2009, several people that they did not get along with entered the bar.
Because Timm and Butler wished to avoid any conflict, they decided to leave.
However, members of the rival body, including the defendant, waited for Timm and Butler outside.
Timm and Butler testified they tried to avoid trouble and quickly entered Butler’s pickup.
But Shirrell and others continued their harassment.
While one heckler stayed on the passenger side and yelled at Butler, the defendant went up to the driver’s side window and knocked on it to get Timm’s attention.
Timm put the window down to hear what the defendant was saying.
That was the opening for which the defendant was waiting.
Shirrell quickly leaned into the opening and smacked Timm in the face with her clenched fist.
The sucker punch injured Timm’s upper lip and surrounding facial area.
As Sherrill and her henchmen scattered into the night, Butler and Timm quickly re-entered the bar to call police.
Their 911 plea was played for the jury at trial.
Deputy Tim Gondeck of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office also testified regarding his investigation.
He related his observations of an upset and crying Timm, and the injuries she suffered at the defendant’s hand.
At trial Sherrill claimed she had never been at the Hideaway that night, instead spending her evening at a friend’s bonfire.
But Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Sytsma quickly dismissed the version in closing argument as an 11th hour scheme to avoid accountability.
Following the guilty verdict, presiding District Judge Stacey Rentfrow sentenced the defendant to four months probation, to include an anger management program, 10 hours of community service and pay $300 in fines and costs.
Additionally, the defendant’s failure to comply with these court orders will result in 30 days’ jail time.