Former Jackson council member in court for assault charges

Posted at 8:33 AM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 10:36:12-04

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning, July 10, for Andrew Frounfelker.

Frounfelker is charged with assaulting his girlfriend.

The pre-trial hearing in Jackson County Circuit Court is scheduled for 8:30 AM. A trial date has not yet been set.

Frounfelker resigned from City Council a few days after a judge ruled there was enough evidence to send his abuse case to trial.

On June 19, Andrew Frounfelker was put on unpaid leave from his job.

Frounfelker worked for Consumers Energy as Director of Investment Recovery.

And on June 11, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies called a press conference for 9 a.m. the next morning.

At the meeting, he immediately addressed the situation with Councilman Andrew Frounfelker.

He announced that the councilman had sent his letter of resignation Monday night.

Tuesday, the mayor thanked him for his service and for "doing what's best."

"He reenters life as a private citizen," said Derek Dobies, Jackson mayor. Dobeis said Frounfelker's resignation has created a number of vacancies on other boards and commissions including the Elle Sharp Park Board of Trustees, The Parks and Recreation Board, the Planning commision, the Jackson County Land Bank authority, the city's ERS board, and the local development finance authority. Dobies said that seat needs to be filled with local and talented citizens and encourages them to step up.

At the meeting Tuesday night, Dobeis expects the council to move forward with the process of filling in the fifth ward seat by collecting applications for future appointment to fulfill the position. The term will expire in 2021, and council will fill the position by someone in Ward 5 for the remainder of that term. There will be no special election to fill the seat for a council member.

Dobies said he does not expect the position to be filled by before their meeting in July in order, "to give time to people to consider serving their community and time for the council to evaluate those applicants and their credentials and who council thinks is best able to serve residents of the fifth ward." Dobies anticipates public interviews.

Frounfelker is waiting to stand trial for assaulting his girlfriend. The alleged assault happened on May 22 at his apartment after a dinner out. The girlfriend, who is remaining anonymous, was in court on June 7 testifying about the incidents that led up to trial. She told the court: "I had to have surgery, I had to have two plates put into my face, one's above my eye, and one in my lower cheekbone. I had five fractured bones in my face including my nose."

The woman said that Frounfelker, "pushed me at first, then started screaming and hollering at me saying it was over, started hitting me in the eye, kept hitting me and I asked him to stop because it was the first day that I didn't have to wear my glasses or have any marks and it was my birthday."

Kristin Willcut, a friend to Frounfelker's girlfriend, got a text from the accuser that said, "Andy was acting crazy." That was followed by a picture of her friend's swollen face and a black eye. That's when she headed to the apartment to help.

The girlfriend said, "she started pounding on the door, and my phone kept ringing, and I said Kristin I'm fine, and I thought I hung up the phone but I didn't."

Willcut said, "I heard her choking, I heard her gasping for air, I heard her crying, and I heard him say 'I'm going to kill you."

The accuser said Frounfelker stopped hitting her when there was a knock at the door, "and told me not to answer, and I said, "Andy, I have to she's in the building, somebody's gonna call the police." The girlfriend let Willcut inside and within minutes they were on their way to the hospital.

After the hearing, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies hinted that Frounfelker would eventually resign. He said the councilman told him he does not want to be a distraction.