LaFayette city councilman pleads guilty to assault - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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LaFayette city councilman pleads guilty to assault

April 28, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

LAFAYETTE, AL (WTVM) - LaFayette City Councilman Toney Thomas is pleading guilty to a single charge of assault against his wife. It's a decision that will cost him a place in local politics and possibly some jail time. In all, three women have come forward with allegations of everything from rape to kidnapping.

Thomas is pleading guilty to assault in the 2nd degree in a plea agreement signed on Tuesday.

Councilman Thomas was celebrating a second-term win on city council when he was arrested on August 28th for assaulting his wife. "He beat and kicked the lady.  Essentially he used his fist and according to her at the time he kicked her with his feet," said E. Paul Jones, the District Attorney.

A day later, he was out of jail on bond. Soon after, two more victims came forward with charges of rape, kidnapping, assault, and domestic violence.

"Two prior companions, one a spouse, one a girlfriend came forward with accounts of prior abuse by him," Jones said. Three women in all filed charges against Thomas, but the plea agreement only involved a single assault charge stemming from his most recent relationship. Two other women also filed charges that date back to several years ago. A statute of limitations prevents Thomas from being tried on charges that are more than three years old.

"It's been something that the City of LaFayette has been dealing with for a while and the fact that it's over is one good thing," said Mayor Matthew Hurst. The District Attorney says the plea agreement states that Thomas must resign from City Council immediately.

"The mayor and council will appoint someone else to that position, and if they fail to do so the Governor will appoint somebody to that position," Hurst said.

The judge could sentence Thomas to a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. However, sentencing guidelines call for him to serve probation, since he has no prior felony convictions. All other charges were dropped as a result of the agreement.

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