Man convicted of assault against girlfriend


YOUNGSTOWN — After a mere 12 minutes of deliberations, a seven-woman, five-man jury convicted a 39-year-old man of striking his girlfriend with a golf club in a March 23 domestic dispute in the Ridge Avenue residence they shared.

Johnny Donald Jr. was convicted just before noon Tuesday after less than three hours of combined statements from lawyers, witness testimony and instructions from Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Donald could get two to eight years in prison when Judge Krichbaum sentences him at 9 a.m. today.

The jury convicted Donald of one felonious assault count that said he struck Shirlynne Ford with a dangerous weapon, namely the golf club, but it acquitted Donald of a second felonious assault count that alleged he knowingly caused her serious physical harm in the same incident.

Ford was arrested Monday evening on a material witness warrant issued by Judge Krichbaum after prosecutors were unable to contact her.

Ford’s trial testimony that Donald hit her with the club was consistent with what she had told police; and Donald admitted to police that he hit Ford with the club, said Dawn Krueger Cantalamessa, assistant county prosecutor.

The steel-shafted club broke into three pieces when Donald hit Ford with it on her left arm and side, Krueger Cantalamessa said.

Ford suffered bruises and extreme pain; and her left arm was placed in a sling, but she suffered no broken bones, Krueger Cantalamessa said.

“You can use a golf club as a deadly weapon, and you don’t even have to be Tiger Woods to do it,” Krueger Cantalamessa told the jurors in her opening statement.

In a 2004 case, Donald pleaded guilty to felonious assault for hitting a man on his head with a piece of aluminum siding. The victim required stitches. In September 2004, Judge Krichbaum sentenced Donald to two years in prison for that assault but released him the following July and put him on two years’ probation.