BURNET, Texas (KXAN) - The president of the Burnet County Republican Party organization faces a felony assault charge after witnesses said he repeatedly punched a 65-year-old newspaper reporter on election night.
Burnet police on Thursday charged Johnnie B. Rogers with injury to the elderly, a third-degree felony that is equivalent to injury to a child.
Police Chief Paul Nelson said Rogers is expected to turn himself in at the Burnet County Jail Friday morning with his attorney, Richard Davis.
Nelson was at the Burnet County Republican Party headquarters Tuesday night when the election results were coming in. Nelson said he saw Rogers punch Burnet Bulletin reporter James Walker four- to five times.
Rogers told KXAN News he swung twice at Walker after the reporter threw the first punch. Yet, Walker has a different story.
"I did not hit him first. As a matter of fact, I didn't even get in a punch," said Walker. "I did push him back from me, and I believe that was the green light to start wailing on me."
Nelson said he pulled Rogers off of Walker.
It was the first time Walker has ever been physically attacked on the job, though he said he was threatened several times back in the 1970s in his sports-writing days by the manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team, Billy Martin.
After questioning several witnesses, Burnet police obtained a warrant for Rogers' arrest. The injury to the elderly charge carries a sentence of two- to 10 years in prison or up to 10 years probation.
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