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January 22, 2014

Assault trial testimony pits mom against son

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — A mother on Tuesday testified against her own son during his  trial on a charge of  aggravated assault and battery in the bloody beating of her boyfriend in 2012.

Susan Cantwell told jurors she was unable to stop the assault and watched helplessly as her son  Zachary Cantwell, 23,  shoved boyfriend Wayne Maner onto concrete and beat him unconscious.

“Wayne hit the curb and was out cold,” she said. “Zach was on his back, throwing punches. He (Wayne) looked dead. There was a lot of blood. Zach was real close to me. I didn’t know what he was going to do next. I didn’t know if he was going to finish him off or go after me next.”

Testimony before  Associate District Judge Dennis Gay showed the fight occurred Dec. 7, 2012, which coincidentally is Pearl Harbor Day, when Americans commemorate the sneak attack by Japan that led the United States into World War II.

The date also happened to be Maner’s 67th birthday, but whether his injuries were the result of a sneak attack is open to question.  Maner’s memory  is so hazy, he can’t recall who threw the first punch, he testified.

Now 68, Maner walks with a cane. He testified he didn’t require the aide of a cane before the right.

Maner told the jury he remembers a disagreement involving the title of a motorcycle and that his girlfriend didn’t like the look of the bike’s paper tag from Texas, he said.

“I guess we had a little scuffle there,” Maner said. “Susan separated us. I went to stand by the truck. I was looking down the street. The next thing I knew, Susan was down there, pulling him off me. Someone must have called an ambulance because one showed up.”

Maner suffered bone fractures and ended up with a small amount of air in his skull cavity, medical testimony showed.

“Air should not be in the skull cavity,” testified Dr. Guy Peterson.

  The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today at Stephens County Courthouse.