District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that on September 7, 2023, a St. Tammany Parish jury unanimously found Bryan Paul Rucker, age 43, guilty as charged of second degree battery. District Judge John Keller presided over the trial.
In September of 2020, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of domestic violence at the defendant’s residence in Covington. A witness who was present in the home with the defendant and his live-in girlfriend reported that the defendant became enraged and attacked his girlfriend, putting his hands around her neck, throwing her to the ground and getting on top of her. Upon the victim telling the witness to call the police, the witness ran across the street to a neighbor’s residence, prompting the neighbor to call 911.
STPSO deputies located the victim alone in the residence, struggling to take deep breaths, bleeding, and covered in bruises. She was transported to St. Tammany Parish Hospital where she was diagnosed with several rib fractures, a fractured nose, and countless contusions resulting from physical assault.
At trial, the jury was permitted to hear evidence of a second assault on the victim committed in January of 2021, via the presentation of a video recorded by the victim demonstrating visible swelling and bruising to her face in which she told the defendant “You beat the crap out of me.” The state also presented evidence of the defendant’s prior conviction for domestic abuse battery against another victim.
The victim in this case passed away in February of 2021. In her absence, the State relied on testimony from the eyewitness of the assault as well as law enforcement and medical professionals. The victim’s cousin testified to witnessing the victim’s fear and pain firsthand. In closing, Assistant District Attorney Christina Fisher urged the jury to be a voice for the victim after her passing, stating: “There is no other way to describe this than a beat down. Bryan Rucker broke ribs on both sides of her body. He broke her nose, and he left her bruised from head to toe.”
The jury deliberated approximately 45 minutes before finding the defendant guilty as charged. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on November 15, 2023. The defendant has five prior felony convictions. Assistant District Attorneys Christina Fisher and Elizabeth Authement prosecuted the case.