The trial of Niki Hochstetler continued yesterday in Starke Circuit Court as the defense called Hochstetler to the stand. Hochstetler, a resident of Walkerton, told the jury that she was at the Country Roads Bar and Grill with two of her friends when Eric Amore began insulting and cussing at her. She said that she was not bothering him and had not spoken to him before he began making these disparaging comments.
Hochstetler said that she and Amore began trading insults, and when his insults got nastier, she shoved him. Amore then sat down at the bar, and he made another insulting comment at her so she walked up to him and punched him in the side. She said that she did not stab him and had no sharp object, and after the altercation, she finished her beer and left the bar. Hochstetler said that she did recognize his motorcycle outside the bar, but did not damage it in any way.
Hochstetler wears several rings on her fingers, many of which are very large, hard, and obtrusive, and indicated that these rings may have been what caused the wound on Amore’s side, and not a deadly weapon. She admits that she hit him but she used only her hands and no weapon of any kind.
The jury reached their verdict after about an hour of deliberation, and found Hochstetler guilty of two of the four charges against her. Hochstetler was found guilty of Battery, a Class C Felony; and Battery as a Class A misdemeanor. She was found not guilty of Criminal Mischief, and a second charge of Battery as a Class C felony. The guilty charges will be merged, and the sentence associated with these charges is two to eight years in jail. Her sentencing has been scheduled for August 17th, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.