David Chase's ex: I thought I was going to die - WKRN News 2

David Chase's ex: I thought I was going to die

Posted: Updated: Jun 19, 2014 10:45 PM
David Chase, in court on June 19, 2014, looks on while listening to testimony from his ex-girlfriend. David Chase, in court on June 19, 2014, looks on while listening to testimony from his ex-girlfriend.
David Chase was arrested for domestic violence on June 8, 2014 and June 9, 2014. David Chase was arrested for domestic violence on June 8, 2014 and June 9, 2014.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The ex-girlfriend of a prominent Nashville contractor arrested twice last week for allegedly beating her up told a judge Thursday she thought "she was going to die" when David Chase threw her onto a bed and began choking her.

The testimony was often questioned by Chase's attorney who wanted to know why she stayed in contact with his client by texting and phoning him even after the first warrant was served.

It was the first courtroom look into a case that has turned the public lens on how domestic violence cases are handled in Nashville.

The hearing was an effort to revoke Chase's bond because of two recent domestic assault arrests, the second coming just hours after a judge waived a 12-hour "cooling off period" that is required if a suspect is considered a threat to the victim.    

Chase's former girlfriend told the court how the first assault occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, June 8, 2014 when she returned to the Elliston Place apartment she previously shared with Chase, the contractor behind a massive project that would bring a Virgin hotel to Nashville.

The woman, who News 2 chose not to identify or show in pictures, told Judge Amanda McClendon she moved out a week earlier after they broke up and went to the apartment to collect some of her belongings.

Chase, 37, let her in and at first they conversed, according to court testimony Thursday, but eventually things escalated and they got into an argument.

The victim told the courtroom she called 911 after Chase grabbed her by her ponytail and threw her out of the apartment.

Police responded to the scene and arrested Chase for domestic assault.

Chase, however, was released just three hours later after his then-attorney Bryan Lewis made a request to Judge Casey Moreland that he be released after serving about three hours of the "cooling off" period.

Following his release, Chase returned to the Elliston Place apartment where the victim, who was at the home gathering her clothes and other belongings, was again assaulted.

The victim testified that police officers told her she had 12 hours to gather her things. She said she never expected to see him when there was a knock at the door.

The woman said the two argued again during which Chase threatened to kill her, saying repeatedly that he would throw her off the apartment’s balcony.

At one point, the victim said Chase threw her onto the bed and began choking her.

She told the court he had both hands around her neck, she could not breathe at times, and thought she was going to die.

The victim stated she tried to call 911 but David grabbed her cell phone and snapped it in half.

She eventually fled the apartment and ran down the hall where a neighbor called 911.

Chase was rearrested the following day but again spent just hours in jail instead of the full 12-hour “cooling off” period.

It was also revealed Thursday that at the time of the alleged attack, Chase’s blood alcohol level was nearly four times the legal limit.

Chase, who has faced previous DUI offenses, was wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor that can measure BAC.

Late Thursday, it was decided Chase must continue to wear an ankle bracelet and a GPS device and cannot have any contact with the victim.He is also under the supervision of a probation officer and is only allowed to go to doctor’s appointment, meet with his lawyer, church and treatment for substance abuse.

Chase is permitted to work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. He will also be required to report to a probation officer each Friday.

He is scheduled back in court next week.

Earlier this week, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson sent a scathing 7-page letter criticizing Judge Moreland’s handling of the case to General Sessions Presiding Judge William Higgins.

Higgins, whose responsibility includes handling the day-to-day operations of the court, also has the power to call meetings with the other general sessions judges especially for the purpose to discuss problems pertaining to the conduct and operation of the court. 

Judge Higgins told News 2 he wants the people of Nashville to know he is aware of the situation and understands their concerns about the reputation of general sessions court judges in light of the recent controversy.

"I want to assure you that your concerns are being addressed by many responsible and competent people within you metropolitan, judicial and executive branches of government and it is my hope and belief that action will be taken that will restore any loss of trust or confidence that you may have experienced."

Judge Higgins said he plans to meet with the other general sessions judges to discuss the matter regarding Judge Moreland and will make a public statement about what action, if any, will be taken.

Several officials, including Metro City Council Member at Large Megan Barry, want Judge Moreland to resign.

"When Judge Moreland disregarded the cooling off period, he put that woman at risk and we have a system that is supposed to protect women from potential abuse, and by letting that man back on the street we put her in a very dangerous situation," Barry stated. 

News 2 has learned Judge Moreland and Chase’s former attorney are longtime friends who vacationed together.

Attorney Bryan Lewis is no longer representing Chase. Richard McGee and Lisa Naylor have taken his place.

Both Lewis and Judge Moreland have declined to comment on the case to News 2.

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