BISBEE — Despite a tearful victim's plea in court that contractor Jon Sky be sent to prison for assaulting her with his truck amid July 4th festivities last year, the judge, after watching a video of the exchange between Sky and the woman, sentenced him to probation instead.
That was after Sky's attorney Ralph Malanga, showed a packed courtroom assembled for Sky's sentencing on a conviction of attempted aggravated assault, a video of the 40-year-old's encounter on July 4, 2019, with victim Toni Cole.
Sky entered a no-contest plea in mid-February to a charge of attempted aggravated assault. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as a criminal conviction by the court.
"I want the court to be aware there is a clear discrepancy in the (victim's) statement," Malanga said. "The victim initiated contact with the truck."
Before Malanga produced the video, Cole told Cochise County Superior Court Judge Timothy Dickerson that Sky had punched her in the chest and that "it doesn't matter how fast his truck was going."
"I don't think that probation is something that will suffice," Cole said. "He is very intimidating. How much longer will I have to look around the corner?"
But after watching the short video and hearing from a handful of people testify on Sky's behalf — including Bisbee Councilwoman Joni Giacomino and Bisbee mayoral candidate Ken Budge — Dickerson agreed the video does not show Sky attacking Cole.
Sky also apologized to the victim and the court, saying that he would have made amends to Cole had she not taken out a restraining order against him.
Dickerson sentenced Sky to four years' probation.
Initially, Sky was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the July 4 incident. Bisbee police said Sky attempted to run over Cole, a parking attendant, with his white pickup truck. A seven-page Bisbee police report also states that Sky tried to put his hands on Cole, but instead shoved her.
In the report, Cole told police that she and Sky have had issues in the past, but “it has never escalated this far.”
The skirmish occurred outside the Bisbee Mining Museum just after 11 a.m. on July 4, the report states, and a handful of people witnessed it.
Cole told police that “she was trying to get in front of his vehicle to stop him and Jon proceeded to ‘rev’ his truck and nudge her with the front end and continued to drive her backwards.”
She also said that she grabbed onto a decorative flag on the hood of Sky’s Dodge truck to keep from falling and “getting run over.” Additionally, Cole said that Sky tried to grab her throat.
Sky denied the woman’s version of the incident during an interview with the Herald/Review at the time. He said he ran over a couple of parking cones and that set her off. He said he never tried to grab her neck.
“The lady came up (to my truck) screaming,” Sky said last year. “She put her hands on my bumper. I was driving super, super slow.”
That was evident in the video Malanga showed Monday.
Sky also stated that Cole grabbed at the American flags on his vehicle and his cattle guard. He said she also cracked one of his rearview mirrors.
“I just pushed her off my truck,” he said. “I have a really large truck. If I had hit her with my truck, she would be in the hospital.”
According to the police report, the row was sparked by Sky ramming into several cones in the parking lot where Cole was working as a parking attendant that morning. Cole told police that she got in front of Sky’s pickup in an attempt to stop him. At least two witnesses gave police their statements and said they had heard the commotion between Sky and the parking attendant.
Bisbee police Officer Lonnie Loper-Carbajal wrote in his report that when he came upon Sky he was “very irate.” Loper-Carbajal said Sky yelled and the officer then placed him in his patrol car.
Sky told Loper-Carbajal and another officer that he was driving toward Cole at a slow rate of speed “to get her to move out of his way,” according to the report. Sky also said that he got out of his truck and “pushed her away to get her to move out of the way.”
According to the report, witnesses told police they heard a woman screaming and saw a man “accelerate his work truck into the parking attendant multiple times.”
Sky was booked into the Cochise County Jail and was released the next day after posting $5,000 bond, records show.
Monday afternoon, a jubilant Sky talked with family and other supporters outside the courthouse.
"I'm ecstatic," he said smiling. "I thought I was going to prison. It was an unfortunate incident."