Athens man indicted for alleged brutal assault on his roommate


Sidney Justin Smith

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man this week was charged in a nine-count indictment for an alleged brutal assault on his roommate two months ago.

Sidney Justn Smith, 21, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, two counts of battery, three counts of theft by taking and one count of financial transaction card theft, according to the indictment that was filed Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court.

One of the assault counts was with the intent to murder, the indictment notes.

According to the indictment and an Athens-Clarke County police report, the incident occurred at University Garden Apartments on Baxter Drive, where Smith lived with the 23-year-old male victim.

The police report indicates that the incident began the night of Sept. 5 when the victim arrived home to cook and Smith was in “a pissy mood” and during an argument the victim tried to push Smith out the door, but Smith grabbed the victim, slammed him to the floor and stomped on his ribs and stomach and then left.

The victim said he then made a dinner plate for a friend who lived elsewhere in the building, and that while delivering the food he encountered Smith, who punched the victim to the ground and began stomping him again, specifically on the neck, according to the report, and when the back of his neck was stomped the victim said he “heard a snap” and then was unable to see clearly.

It was for that allegation that the grand jury indicted Smith for aggravated assault with intent to commit murder.

The aggravated battery charge was for a broken vertebra that the victim suffered, according to the indictment.

A neighbor who heard the commotion came out of their apartment and pulled Smith off of the victim, the police report notes.

Smith reportedly later returned to the apartment, at which time he began to get violent and the victim ran to the bathroom, but Smith followed and kicked the victim in the face several times before going to the kitchen, where he threw a crock pot on the floor and then left.

Smith returned to the apartment early the next morning to collect his belongings while the victim waited outside, according to the police report, and when the victim woke up later in the morning, he found that Smith had taken some of his property, including all of his food, except for some bread.

The victim said he went to an apartment where he suspected Smith might be, and upon finding him there, he grabbed his phone that Smith had taken, at which time Smith chased the victim into the outside hallway, where he tried to take back the phone and choked him to the point that he was unable to breathe, according to the report.

The victim said when he went back to his apartment to call his mother Smith barged in and began beating him again, and while he was on the floor, Smith choked him and smothered him with a plastic bag, according to the report, which noted that the victim said Smith also hit his head with a beer bottle.

When the mother was later interviewed for the investigation, she reportedly told police that when her son had called her she could hear Smith threatening to kill him

The victim said that while still on the ground, he heard his roommate call the victim’s mother and tell that her son was lying on the floor and unable to talk to her, according to the report.

When the victim was able to leave the apartment, he went to a business where he called police, according to the report, and the responding officer saw that his body was bruised and a bite mark was on his back.

The victim was transported by National EMS to the hospital, where the report said the officer continued her interview.

He told the officer that he and Smith lived together since June, and that after being released from jail a few weeks earlier, Smith started to become violent with him and described incidents in which Smith previously strangled him and stated that Smith “likes to go for the neck,” according to the report, which added that the victim said he never fought back because of their relationship and he did not want to hurt his roommate.

He also said that in addition to his cellphone, Smith had taken his house key and several bank cards, according to the report.

Smith was arrested when officers located him in another apartment at University Heights.

Smith has been held at the county jail without bail since he was arrested, and his arraignment on the indictment is scheduled for Dec. 20.

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