SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Tim Ruflin questions whether he’ll ever find justice.
He was assaulted in his mother’s front yard and for a year has been trying to understand why the charges against the suspect were dropped without his knowledge.
The suspect is Ruflin’s brother-in-law. According to Ruflin Craig Jensen stopped in the middle of the street and confronted him.
“He thought I flipped him off,” said Ruflin. “But my 72-year-old mother was next to me and there’s no way I would have done something like that.”
But Ruflin said Jensen was angry and was not about to leave even though his mother-in-law asked him too. That’s when Ruflin stepped in.
“I approached him and told Craig, you need to leave and he was yelling obscenities,” said Ruflin.
Ruflin said Jensen turned violent when he accused him of physically hurting his sister who is married to Jensen.
“He cold-cocked me right in the face the second after I got done saying we know you are verbally and physically abusive to my sister,” he said. “I was standing there and he hit me in the face.”
The two began fighting in the front yard of the Ruflin home. He claimed Jensen got him in a chokehold and couldn’t break free.
“I was being choked and hit in the back of the head,” said Ruflin. “Mr. Jensen was choking me with his left arm while I was on the ground with my back against his knees pummeling my head going in and out of consciousness.”
He said that’s when he grabbed his pocket knife from his pocket and stabbed him in the arm.
The fight stopped and Jensen retreated. But seconds after that, Ruflin fell to the ground. He claimed he was having a seizure, later a concussion from the blows to the head.
“I’m now mostly blind in my left eye because of a direct result of this,” said Ruflin.
Craig Jensen was eventually arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
A judge found enough evidence for him to stand trial. But without notice, it was dismissed.
Ruflin claimed the prosecutor told the judge he didn’t produce medical records by a certain deadline, but the date on the email sent to the prosecutor showed it was well before the deadline.
Since the case was dismissed last year, Ruflin has attempted to find out what happened.
He said he had no luck with the assistant district attorney who handled his case. But Ruflin recently met with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill during the DAs open sessions with the public.
Gill said they will review the case.
“I am going to have a screening that is going to be done by a group of attorneys who are not affiliated with the original prosecution,” Gill said.
As a result, Jensen could once again be facing the same charges.
The judge dismissed the case using the legal term “without prejudice.” It means the district attorney can refile the charges without worrying about double jeopardy.
He’s now hired a civil attorney to review the case for a possible lawsuit against Jensen. Tyler Ayres said the case should be about the defendant breaking the law and not whether Ruflin’s injuries were caused by the blows to the head.
“I do find it unusual, not necessarily in a bad way,” said Ayres. “I appreciate that prosecutors are reviewing it carefully. But under these circumstances, the facts just don’t add up here. It appears Mr. Ruflin has been seriously injured and I’ve seen aggravated assault cases that have gone a lot further with a lot less.”
Ruflin is satisfied that the DA’s office will review the case but he remains skeptical.
The injuries from the assault crippled him. He’s now forced to use a walker and a service animal to survive.
“I absolutely feel re-victimized by this happening to me and this person is is now free out on the street,” said Ruflin. “Where’s my justice?”
Gill said it was Ruflin’s perseverance that provided him with another opportunity. The district attorney said any member of the public can meet with him if they are disappointed or have issues about their case. Gill said he sets aside every Friday for these types of meetings.
Visit the district attorney’s website to learn more about a personal meeting with the district attorney.