Pine Bluff man disputes prior domestic battery conviction

A Pine Bluff man accused of felony domestic battery said in court Wednesday a previous conviction should not have been on his record.

Vincent Peal, 41, who was arrested for second offense, third-degree domestic battery April 18 said Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney told him in 2011 that he was “free and clear” of the charge.

Records collected by the police department, however, that were included in a probable cause affidavit from Detective Sam Atkinson said Peal pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery on April 18, 2011.

The latest allegation came after police saw Peal and a female at West 13th Avenue and Maple Street and, according to the affidavit, the female “was crying and had mud on her clothes.”

Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Pugh said the woman told police she and Peal had argued and he pushed her into a ditch and choked her, causing minor injuries to her neck.

When Peal was interviewed, he allegedly told police that he placed his hand over the woman’s mouth and held on to both sides of her head to “stop her from screaming and crying” and agreed with the police that the injury could have resulted from that action.

In court, Peal also said the woman had “left his children alone” and that was the reason for the argument.

Pugh said in addition to the prior domestic battery charge, Peal had been convicted of aggravated robbery and theft by receiving and is currently on probation stemming from a 2012 conviction for felony fleeing.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $5,000 cash-only bond for Peal and also ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim until the case is settled.