Protection order issued against RV business owner, neighbor heard ‘help me’ multiple times

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Jeff Couch is charged with felonious assault for incident involving his wife

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

West Chester Twp. police said Butler County businessman Jeffery Couch “did knowingly cause serious physical harm to Shelley Couch” when he punched his wife in the face “multiple times and slammed her head onto a paved driveway multiple times,” according a court document filed by West Chester police.

Couch, 51, of Tamarron Drive in West Chester Twp., was charged early Saturday morning with felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was video arraigned Monday in Butler County Area II Court, where bond as set at $16,000 and a protection order for him to stay away from his wife was issued.

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Couch’s attorney, Erik Niehaus, who is also the former West Chester police chief, told Magistrate John McNally Jr. that he talked to Shelley Couch, who told him she was not opposed to Jeffery Couch being released on bond if a protection order was issued.

Niehaus said during the hearing that he talked the alleged victim by phone on Sunday.

“She told me she was not in fear of him,” Niehaus said.

Assistant Prosecutor Jim Monk requested a $100,000 bond. He said Shelley Couch was taken to the hospital.

“She indicated to me that she has no fractures … I don’t believe there was serious physical harm in this matter so I am not sure felonious assault is even in play in this case from what I have heard so far,” Niehaus said.

The case was moved from the jurisdiction of Area III court because there is a conflict with Judge Dan Haughey, who is a former law partner of Niehaus.

A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday in Area II Court, but prosecutors indicated the case will be taken directly to a grand jury for consideration, bypassing that hearing.

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Couch is the owner of Jeff Couch’s RV Nation in Trenton. He was booked into the Butler County Jail and held without bond over the weekend. He was charged at 1:34 a.m. Saturday after police said he assaulted his wife on the way home from an event.

West Chester police were called Friday at around 11:30 p.m. to Couch’s home in the Wetherington subdivision by a neighbor “who had heard a woman screaming outside,” said township spokeswoman Barb Wilson.

A woman called 911 from a neighboring garage. She told dispatchers she saw dark figures in the Couch house.

The caller said her daughter was home when she heard a woman yelling. “help me, help me, help me.”

Police responded to Couch’s home and found “odd-and-end debris strewn across the driveway” when they arrived, she said. Police spoke with Couch, who was inside his home at the time, and “noted things were disheveled,” Wilson said.

She said West Chester police also received a call from West Chester Hospital to report they admitted Couch’s wife, Shelley, “with serious injuries.”

Police interviewed her, and she said the fight in the car “escalated” when they arrived home, Wilson said.

“She was able to get away and ran to another neighbor’s house, and that neighbor took her to the hospital,” Wilson said.

RV Nation claims on its website to be “one of the camper industry’s best providers” of RV sales, service and parts, and Couch’s family has been in the RV business for more than 40 years.

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