Jurors in the state of Ohio on Wednesday acquitted a woman accused of murdering her Army veteran boyfriend. The jury indicated that though prosecutors proved the elements of count 2—felonious assault—the state failed to show that the defendant did not open fire in self-defense.
Audrey Cole, a.k.a. Audrey Branch, 34, told cops in Carroll County, Ohio, that Matthew Michael Mott, 32, attacked her during an argument on May 3, 2021. Fearful, she loaded her rifle and tried to leave the residence when she encountered him again, according to the defense. Cole said that Mott came after her again.
Mott had lost his temper during the initial argument and grabbed Cole’s head while she was sitting on the edge of her bed, defense lawyer Chasey Mallory said. He threw her, putting her head through the wall, the attorney said.
“Her head goes through the wall,” the attorney said in closing arguments. “You’re going to see it. A nice, perfectly head-sized shape through the wall.”
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) January 31, 2022
The state argued that the fight did not justify shooting Mott, and that the confrontation was over by the time Cole opened fire. This was not self-defense. This was murder, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor Stephen D. Barnett downplayed Cole’s injuries.
“She was not beat to a bloody pulp,” he told jurors. “You saw the tape. You saw the interview. You heard the statements. If she was a blood pulp, she would have been hospitalized. She would have had bandages on her head. Something. Something more. But she was treated and she was released. She was not admitted to the hospital. So the characterization that this is a bloody pulp is not accurate.”
As seen on police interrogation footage, Cole told cops that Mott slammed her down on the floor and started punching her head and her face. She said she tried to block him. The baby didn’t even wake up, she said. Mott told Cole to get up.
‘I see why your dad used to hit your mom,'” he said, according to Cole’s account. “Something like that. ‘Because you don’t know how to shut up.'”
He walked out, she said. Cole got up, grabbed her rifle and ammo, and said she was trying to get out. Cole emerged from the room, and Mott came down the hall from around the corner from the living room. Cole pointed the rifle at him, and he came at her, she said. That’s when she shot him, she said.
WATCH: Jurors are shown a police interview of #AudreyCole after she fatally shot her boyfriend Matthew Mott in Ohio on May 3, 2021. Cole said she shot him in self-defense during a domestic dispute. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/SWP0YoQ32S
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After that, Mott cried out about the pain. He ran downstairs and outside of the residence, Cole said. In her version of events, she thought he was going to bring “something” and come back to get her. Instead, Mott was fatally wounded and died outside the home.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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