In less than two hours, an Inyo County jury found 38-year-old Kevin Ruskauff of Auburn, CA, not guilty on two felony charges of assault and guilty for misdemeanor assault.
Back in April, the Inyo Sheriff’s Office received calls of a dispute and a shooting in Olancha. Ruskauff was shot four times but after an investigation deputies decided that the man who shot him did so in self-defense. The District Attorney then charged Ruskauff with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Officers alleged that Ruskauff threw a man off of a roof and then came after him with a utility knife.
Ruskauff continued to maintain his innocence. Courtroom testimony revealed that Ruskauff, his biological father Mr. Lawson and another man, Mr. Freeny were on a roof in Olancha doing work. An argument broke out and some of the testimony indicated that Freeny had gone after Ruskauff with a wonder bar during a dispute. Freeny missed Ruskauff and then fell off the roof. He said he felt Ruskauff’s hands on his shoulders.
Lawson pulled the ladder up to prevent Ruskauff from going back onto the roof, according to testimony. Freeny ran to his truck and got a revolver. He shot Ruskauff four times.
When asked by Ruskauff’s lawyer, Tom Hardy, if Freeny shot Ruskauff when he was down on the ground, Freeny said something to the effect that “It wouldn’t have been sporting to shoot him on the ground.”
Jurors apparently found reasonable doubt about the two felony assault charges and found Ruskauff not guilty. They did find him guilty on a misdemeanor assault. The judge sentenced him to time served. The defendant had been in jail since May.