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Jury hears ex-fiancee's claims of attack by Falls police officer

The former fiancee of Niagara Falls Police Officer Mark L. Feldhousen testified Tuesday that she was attacked suddenly as she kissed Feldhousen on the cheek while he lay in bed.

Shona Hamilton, who said she was engaged to Feldhousen twice, said she was knocked into two dressers and to the floor Nov. 12 in the bedroom of her Cudaback Avenue home.

Feldhousen, 59, a 38-year veteran of the Police Department, was suspended after being arrested Dec. 14.

He is being tried in Niagara County Court on a charge of second-degree assault that carries a seven-year maximum prison sentence.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said Hamilton suffered a concussion, a punctured eardrum and various bruises.

Hamilton told the jury that Feldhousen, although he had his own apartment, was spending much of his time living with her and her two daughters, ages 7 and 9, whom Feldhousen encouraged to call him "Dad."

She said she met Feldhousen at Mass in August 2007.

He proposed in June 2008, and Hamilton said yes.

But the couple split up a year later. They got back together in November 2009 and became engaged again last April or May.

After a trip to the movies and some wine and snacks at the Polish Nook, a Niagara Falls restaurant, the couple returned to Hamilton's house at about9 p.m. Nov. 12.

The girls were sleeping over at a friend's house.

Hamilton said that after they played cards for 20 minutes, Feldhousen went to bed and she followed after smoking a cigarette in the kitchen.

She saw a hallway light was on, and she could see Feldhousen's face as he lay on his left side.

Hamilton said she kissed him on the cheek about five times.

"He screamed, 'No, get away from me!' " Hamilton testified. "I was startled. He grabbed my body and slammed me down on the bed."

As she tried to get up, Hamilton said, Feldhousen "grabbed my body and pulled it a little bit toward him and then threw me into the dresser at the end of the bed."

Her left side, she said, hit the dresser, and she fell to the floor.

She said she tried to pull herself up by grabbing the comforter on the bed and found herself, with her other hand, pulling on Feldhousen's pajamas, which ripped as he was backing away.

"As I was standing up, I was slammed into the dresser next to the bed. It was a tall dresser," Hamilton said. She said she struck her head and right side.

"There was another blow that sent me straight down," Hamilton testified. "I went down to my knees, and I don't know what happened. When I stood up, it was dark, and there was no Mark."

She said she went downstairs and saw Feldhousen in the dining room, dressed in street clothes. "I told him he needed to get out of my house," Hamilton said, and Feldhousen left.

Rather than report the matter to Feldhousen's police colleagues, Hamilton went to Kissimmee, Fla., with her daughters.

Hamilton, a Tonawanda native, had lived there with a man who fathered the two children before they split in 2006.

On Nov. 18, she gave her account of what happened to Kissimmee Officer Isabel D. Velazquez, who testified that she took photos of the bruises that day and Nov. 23, and had Hamilton fill out a statement.

Defense attorney Jon L. Wilson, who will cross-examine Hamilton today, told the jury in his opening statement that "intent" is an element of the crime Baehre will have to prove.

Baehre warned the jury that they will hear instructions on "justification," which is the legal term for self-defense, as well as the legal meaning of excessive force.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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