A Douglas County jury Monday convicted a 35-year-old Lawrence man of intentional aggravated battery for hitting his estranged wife with a car last summer.
Catherine Decena Skinner, an assistant Douglas County district attorney, told jurors in closing arguments that Michael C. Pringle struck his wife, Melissa Pringle, in a Holcom Park parking lot July 11 after they had a heated argument at one of their son’s T-ball games. The Pringles are divorcing, attorneys said.
Skinner said two women testified that they saw Michael Pringle drive toward the woman, causing her to fall down and injuring her elbow and knee.
“The facts in this case are what they are,” Skinner told jurors. “Facts are stubborn things, and they cannot be ignored.”
But defense attorney Michael Tubbs said testimony was inconsistent with original statements given to police, and he said the pending divorce was why Melissa Pringle made the accusations against her husband.
Tubbs also said Michael Pringle testified he drove slowly from the parking lot without knowing he had struck her or caused her to fall.
“Worst case, this is a simply an accident; worst case, unbeknownst to Mr. Pringle,” Tubbs said.
Jurors deliberated for about three hours Monday before reaching a verdict, and they also found the crime to be an act of domestic violence. A domestic violence “tag” will be placed on his criminal record, under a provision of a recent Kansas law meant to track repeat domestic violence offenders. The legislation was named for Kansas University law student Jana Mackey, who was murdered in Lawrence in 2008.
District Judge Sally Pokorny is scheduled to sentence Michael Pringle on Dec. 12.