By: Rachel Dove-BaldwinHeartland News Service
December 27, 2012
BREEDEN - A Jennie’s Creek resident has entered a guilty plea to three counts of battery after being originally charged with three counts of malicious wounding following an attack on his pregnant girlfriend and two members of her family.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputy E. Williams and Sgt. Joe Smith, Steven Ray Messer, 32, who has been charged on two separate occasions in the past with domestic battery, did unlawfully and intentionally cause bodily harm to the victim, April Pilkins (his girlfriend), knowing that she was three months pregnant. Messer is said to have repeatedly struck Pilkins in the stomach; shoved her out of a moving car and held her by the hair so that her legs drug on the roadway surface, which resulted in severe abrasions and lacerations. He is also accused of biting her hand, creating injury.
Pilkins managed to get away from her attacker and was given refuge in a vehicle occupied by a Good Samaritan. Messer, while in the process of searching for Pilkins, observed a car that was operated by the victim’s sister, Stacey Deskins, and in which her father, William Nathan Deskins, was a passenger. Thinking Pilkins was also inside the car; Messer allegedly smashed his vehicle into it, injuring the driver. The father reportedly jumped out and attempted to stop Messer from any further acts of violence by trying to remove the keys from his vehicle, but was not successful. Messer is said to have then took approximately a 50 foot running go and struck Pilkin’s father with his vehicle, knocking him over the hill, which ended with yet another injury. He then once again, struck the vehicle while the sister was still inside.
All three victims were treated at the scene by first responders and were then transported by ambulance to the Appalachian Regional Hospital and the Williamson Memorial Hospital where they received emergency care. Messer was taken into custody and was arraigned before Magistrate Dee Sidebottom and was remanded to the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden.
Messer appeared in magistrate court this week for his preliminary hearing and agreed to enter guilty pleas to three counts of battery, which is a lesser charge. He was sentenced to serve 10 months on each count and will have them run consecutively (one after the other), for a total of 30 months behind bars. Magistrate Pam Newsome presided over the hearing.