Deputy acquitted of beating woman

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A defense attorney for Gwinnett County Sheriff's Deputy Hendryx Colon said battery charges against him were the result of a conniving girlfriend bent on having her way via the legal system.

A jury recently agreed.

Colon, a 13-year department veteran, was acquitted May 20 of simple battery and battery charges against his live-in girlfriend, claims that had landed him in jail and jeopardized his career, his attorney, Niria Baggett, said Thursday.

Lilburn police arrested Colon, 46, in October when the 25-year-old woman told police he'd assaulted her at the Indian Crest Court home they shared, causing minor injuries.

Jurors in Gwinnett County State Court deliberated only an hour before declaring Colon innocent, Baggett said. Additional charges of third-degree child cruelty had been dropped prior to trial, she said.

Baggett contends the woman concocted the story and self-inflicted her injuries in an attempt to gain custody of their child. She was also trying to gain a so-called U visa, which gives victims of domestic crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility in the United States, Baggett said.

Baggett was unsure from where Colon's girlfriend had emigrated. A Lilburn police spokesman was out of the office late Thursday and wasn't sure if the alleged victim has been charged by police.

"We had information the victim ... had previously accused men of the same charges," Baggett said. "We had a witness -- her ex-husband -- who said she'd self-inflicted injuries" a few years ago, she said.

Stacey Bourbonnais, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, said Colon remains employed as a deputy, though disciplinary action is pending.

"The sheriff found that there were violations of internal policies" during an investigation, Bourbonnais said.