Domestic violence trial for ex-Clovis police officer gets underway

FRESNO, Calif.

Pennington is on trial for domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend. He is facing eight counts relating to assault, false imprisonment and trying to dissuade a witness. Six of the counts are felony crimes.

Late Friday, the defendant's ex-girlfriend told the court she met Kyle Pennington in a bar last February and they were inseparable since that day. But soon after this romance began, she says there were problems that ended in violent beatings.

"The defendant had punched her, choked her with her own T-shirt and head-butted her, which caused the mark on her cheek," said Deputy District Attorney Kelly Smith. "She also stated that the defendant in this case used a pillow to attempt to suffocate her, which is when she used her nails to scratch at the defendant's chest."

Pennington's attorney, Marshall Hodgkins, told jurors there's another side to this woman who claims to be a victim. He says her credibility is questionable and she has changed her story several times. He says if Pennington is guilty of anything, it's getting involved with the wrong woman.

"Maybe all of you and I would not do stupid things that these people did. We would not move as fast to get into a relationship. But he's not charged with being stupid, if he was, I'd plead him guilty to that," said Hodgkins.

Prosecutors claim Pennington would beat his girlfriend, then threaten her saying no one would believe her story because he is a cop. Prosecutors admitted recanted her story because she feared Pennington and the consequences of speaking up.

"The defendant told her quote, 'If you ruin my life, it's a bullet in your head and a bullet in mine,'" said Smith.

Smith says Pennington would finish his tirade by performing a degrading sex act on the victim. He claims the defendant did the same thing to at least one other previous girlfriend.

But Pennington's attorney says his client only defended himself against a woman who he loved and didn't want to lose. He says the victim sought revenge by going out with other cops to upset him, while he was home doing their laundry.

Pennington's ex-wife is expected to take the stand in his defense. If he is guilty on all counts, he could serve up to 10 years in prison.

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