An Augusta man was sentenced Tuesday to spend five years in prison for violently beating his girlfriend with a sound bar and taping her hands and mouth in 2019.
Keith Reese, 44, was found guilty of aggravated assault after a two-day trial, according to a press release from District Attorney Jared Williams.
“The victim went to the defendant’s apartment on Alexander Drive after a homecoming celebration, finding Reese drunk and belligerent,” Williams said. “He screamed at her and became violent, lashing out at her with his hands, savagely beating her with a television soundbar, and taping her mouth and hands to keep her from breathing.”
Assistant District Attorney Jarryd Brown of the DA’s Special Victims Unit told jurors about the injuries and violence that unfolded on that night, including DNA evidence of the blood and saliva found on the sound bar the defendant used to beat the victim.
After the verdict, Judge John Flythe sentenced the defendant to five years in prison, followed by 15 years on probation.
During the trial, ADA Brown asked the jury why it was so hard for people to believe domestic violence victims and stand up for them. After the trial, he commended the verdict and the citizens who rendered it.
“This is a Richmond County Jury standing up for domestic violence victims and saying this will not be tolerated in our community,” Brown said in the release.
The District Attorney noted that Brown was supposed to be on paternity leave during this week’s trial, days away from the birth of his first child. But he came back to ensure justice was served for this victim, Williams said.
“He is an example of selfless service to our community, and I am so proud and thankful for what he does for the citizens of the Augusta Judicial Circuit,” Williams said.
The victim in this case knew Reese from work, and they were dating. According to a sheriff’s report, she returned home, where Reese started calling her names and putting her down. Reese told her that she was lying to him, and he struck her with an open hand in the face and head several times. He would ask her another question and say she was lying again. She stated that he then picked up a speaker sound bar and struck her repeatedly in the face, head, arms, and body.
Reese eventually wrapped duct tape around her neck, covered her mouth and nose so she could not breathe, and choked her with his hands. The victim eventually escaped after Reese left the residence, and she ended up at the hospital.
The victim suffered bruises on both her temples and arms. She had blood in her left eye and a busted and swollen lip. Her left eye was also swollen. She had bruises on her neck, around her wrists, and her left side and leg. Both hands were also swollen.