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Schalow faces third trial and 20 felonies

Leonard Schalow Leonard Schalow

A 50-year-old Hendersonville man whose attempted second-degree murder conviction was thrown on appeal is back in jail and facing 20 felony charges of assault and child abuse.

Leonard Schalow was indicted last month by a Henderson County grand jury on the charges arising from the same events that led to his attempted murder charges. A Henderson County Superior Court jury convicted him in 2015 on the attempted first-degree charges. The charges were thrown out by the state Court of Appeals in December 2016 and the state Supreme Court upheld the ruling.
Schalow is accused of severely beating his wife, Erin, over a period of at least 15 months and is also charged with felony abuse and neglect of their son, now 14.
Erin Schalow testified during the trial that Schalow assaulted her almost daily from December 2013 to February 2014 — often in front of their minor son — kicking her with hard-toe boots, hitting her with walking sticks and an aluminum crutch and strangling her until she passed out at least three times, a judge wrote in the appeals court order. Schalow attacked her with a knife at least twice. Erin Schalow testified that her husband had warned her to “make my peace” with their son because Schalow promised to “torture and kill her over an extended period of time,” a judge wrote in summarizing the facts of the case.
The new indictment charge Schalow with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, two counts with assault inflicting serious injury and one count of assault by strangulation. The indictments say he cut her with a knife, beat her with a crutch, punched her in the face and body, causing a ruptured spleen and broken and ribs and facial bones. The grand jury also indicted him on 14 charges of felony child abuse.
Newman defended his handling of the case at a campaign forum for the May 8 primary in which he faces challenger Mary Ann Hollocker. An audience member asked about the Schalow case.

“The Schalow case is a man who beat is wife to an inch of death and we prosecuted him for attempted first-degree murder, successfully I might add,” Newman said. “What happened was the original indictment was defective, we omitted two words. The Superior Court judge to his credit declared a mistrial, to give us a chance to re-indict, which we did, and we prosecuted Mr. Schalow and he was given a long sentence.” The state Court of Appeals threw out the conviction on procedural grounds. “So what we’ve done is this. Mr. Schalow has new indictments. He’s in our jail now, he’s facing a variety of new charges and we will prosecute them again. Domestic violence, especially to this extent, is not just going to be charged as a misdemeanor. I saw this case as a horrible case because of the evidence and I suggested he go to the grand jury on attempted murder charges.” He blamed liberal judges on the outcome. “So what I have to do when they rule against me is drop back, make some changes and you go at it again. Mr. Schalow is still in custody, he’s not going anywhere. I look forward to prosecuting him again on a variety indictments.”

Hollocker questioned whether Newman can get a conviction to stick, given that he’s already lost one round on double-jeopardy grounds.
“Here’s what happened in the Leonard Schalow case,” she said. “Mr. Schalow was charged by indictment by the district attorney’s office with attempted first-degree murder but language was missing — malice aforethought. However, there was still a charge of voluntary manslaughter or attempted voluntary manslaughter. The district attorney’s office moved to dismiss the charge when it was pointed out by a judge that that special language was missing. They dismissed it. The defense attorney argued, ‘No, it has to go forward because this charging instrument still alleges a crime.’
“They didn’t. They filed the exact same charge, this time with the correct language and it’s correct, they got a conviction. But it went up on appeal and that conviction was vacated, meaning it’s gone. And I don’t understand how the district attorney’s office thinks they’re going to bring these new charges when it’s based on the same facts and circumstances Mr. Schalow was charged with, convicted on and his conviction was vacated.
“Why is that important to Henderson County? Because two simple words were missing from an indictment. When you are preparing your case and looking at your indictment, when you’re looking at what evidence you have to prove the evidence, that is something that should have been caught, it could have been changed before it went to trial and he would have had a strong conviction and facing a severe prison sentence. Instead, most likely he’s going to get out.”
Newman rebutted that.
“She talks a tough game,” he said. “I was there. I prosecuted the guy. I’m going to prosecute him again. He’s in jail right now under a high bond, under a variety of indictments, and the reason we can prosecute him again is because North Carolina law allows us to do that. I will prosecute this gentleman again and my prediction is he’ll be convicted again.”