Ax attack victim testifies at hearing

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - For the first time, the Hanover county teenager who survived an axe attack, testified about that day, in court.

This was a preliminary hearing, where we're hearing about the evidence, and for the first time, prosecutors played a video of the attack which left the victim severely wounded, and another young man now facing the possibility, of life in prison.

15-year-old Austin Mayton is getting better, but there's still a big scar on the left side of his face. He and his family left court silently, having just testified about the October day when he was struck with an axe.

Mayton identified the attacker as fellow Lee-Davis High School student, Omar Abdelall, who is 16 years old. The prosecutor also played a tape of the attack - caught on a surveillance camera at the Mechanicsville Tractor Supply Store.

Afterward - the judge certified a charge of aggravated malicious wounding. The case is expected to be heard in circuit court, where Abdelall will face trial, as an adult.

"Quite candidly, you have seen the evidence, you have seen the video, a young man has been struck in the face with an axe, suffered 120-plus stitches. It'll be a hard job for them to convince me not to try him as an adult," said Commonwealth's Attorney Trip Chalkley.

The surveillance video from Tractor Supply was shown privately to reporters, but not allowed to be released publicly. In it, two groups of young people confront each other. The prosecutor pointed out the defendant, who -and it's not clear why, yet- took two steps, and swung the axe directly at the unsuspecting victim's face. Everybody scattered, the young man put his hand up, stumbled a bit, but kept his feet, and then walked out of frame, leaving a trail of blood on the floor.

Now, one young man faces life with a permanent scar. His accused attacker faces life in prison.

"I'm not gonna charge anybody with a crime that I don't think I can prove each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt," said Chalkley.

Life in prison is the maximum penalty for a charge of aggravated malicious wounding. Officially, the case is now going to a grand jury. Assuming the indictment is returned, the case would go to trial in circuit court, January 26. 

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.