FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60DR-18-2044], HONORABLE MACKIE M. PIERCE, JUDGE
R. Crabtree, Little Rock, for appellant.
Law Firm, Little Rock, by: Steven A. Owings and Tammy B.
Gattis, for appellee.
J. HARRISON, Judge
Armstrong appeals an order of protection entered against him,
claiming there was insufficient evidence to support a finding
of domestic abuse and, thus, the orders entry. We affirm.
June 2018, Hayley Armstrong petitioned the Pulaski County
Circuit Court for an order of protection on behalf of herself
and her three children. The petition was filed against her
husband, Todd, who had filed for divorce approximately six
weeks earlier. Hayley alleged that on June 3, Todd had
returned their children to her home after exercising
visitation and said that he wanted to talk to her. According
I told him that because of his hostile behavior to contact me
by text or email me. I went inside and closed the door and he
busted through the door and told me he was taking some of the
furniture and that there was nothing I could do about it. He
was very angry, and when I tried to call for help, he grabbed
my phone and threw it on the floor. He then left and said he
would be back in an hour. Because I was so afraid of what he
might do, I called my attorney, then took the kids and went
to my parents for safety.
alleged that Todd had "grabbed,"
"shaken," "pushed," and
"shoved" her in the past and that he had chased her
across the lawn. She also recounted one instance in which
Todd had "squatted down beside me and whispered to me
and told me Now you are going to be sorry. " Hayley
asked the court to exclude Todd from her residence, her
parents residence, and the childrens school.
temporary order of protection was entered on June 4,
effective until June 25, when the circuit court convened a
hearing to address both Hayleys petition and the ongoing
divorce proceedings. Regarding the order of protection,
Hayley testified that she and Todd have three children and
that their oldest child, thirteen-year-old K.A., has
significant behavioral issues. Hayley said that Todd has
anger issues and had beaten K.A. with a belt for lying. She
said that Todd had also hit K.A. and that when she
intervened, Todd grabbed her, shook her, and shoved her.
Hayley also described multiple instances of verbal abuse from
Todd. Hayley recounted the June 3 incident reported in her
petition and said that immediately after that incident, Todd
shut off service to her phone and deleted all content on her
phone. She further described Todds discipline of all three
children, which was to make them "kneel on the hardwood
floors, and face the wall." Regarding the comment that
she would "be sorry," Hayley explained that Todd
had wanted her to use his attorney for the divorce but that
she obtained her own representation. She testified that she
was afraid of Todd, that he was almost twice her size, and
that she would like the order of protection continued at
least until the divorce is final.
cross-examination, Hayley said that things with Todd had
gotten increasingly worse over their nineteen-year marriage.
She agreed that Todd had not physically touched her or
threatened physical harm during the incident on June 3 but
said that she was frightened by his behavior. She agreed that
she had not filed for divorce or filed a police report on
Todd. She also agreed that Todd had taken the children for a
week-long vacation in Florida, although he had resisted
telling her where they were going. She acknowledged taking a
trip to Bangkok in September 2017 and not contacting her
children for eleven
days, but she said it was because Todd had told her not to
use her phone. When asked why she did not call the children
anyway, she responded, "Ive been told what to do, what
to wear, how to be for so long, Im just starting to realize
who I really am and not having somebody continuously tell me
how I should be."
testified that during the June 3 incident, Hayley had tried
to record him on her phone, so he grabbed her phone and
"slung it on the ground." He denied touching her or
threatening to hurt her. He also said the children were in
the backyard and did not witness the incident. He stated that
he had "never" grabbed, shaken, pushed, or shoved
Hayley. He explained that the "youll be sorry"
comment referred to the fact that he was not going to let her
take custody of the children and he thought it was