Man denies allegations he attacked TV reporter

By Kyla Asbury | May 20, 2015

CLAY – The defendant named in a lawsuit filed by WCHS-TV reporter Bob Aaron has filed his answers in the lawsuit, denying all allegations made against him.

Howard J. Lilly filed his answer in Clay Circuit Court.

"Defendant denies all facts and allegations contained in plaintiff's complaint not herein specifically and affirmatively admitted," the answer states.

Lilly asserts that to the extent that Aaron has suffered any damages, the existence of which Lilly expressly denies, the alleged damages were the direct and proximate result of Aaron's own actions or omissions or the actions or omissions of others, and were not caused by any conduct of Lilly, according to the answer.

Aaron filed the lawsuit against Lilly after he claims Lilly attacked him while he was filming for a story on July 7, according to the original complaint filed in December in Clay Circuit Court.

Aaron claims he had received a tip about a potential story regarding neglected mules and horses near a home on Bomont Road in Clay County and pulled his vehicle over to the side of the road and set up his tripod and camera on the public road to take footage of the scene.

While he was taking footage on the public roadway, Lilly charged him, shouting for him to stop filming and to "head down the road," according to the suit.

Aaron claims he informed Lilly that he was on a public road and would leave once he had finished with the video.

Lilly then "violently grabbed plaintiff’s camera equipment and began to try and take the camera and tripod."

Aaron claims he was able to retrieve the camera so that it would not fall to the ground, but was unable to stop Lilly from grabbing the tripod.

Lilly then took the tripod and began swinging it to strike Aaron and struck him more than once, causing serious injury, according to the suit.

Aaron claims the lens of the camera was completely destroyed, however, prior to it being destroyed, it was able to record much of the altercation.

After the defendant stopped swinging the tripod, Aaron was able to retreat to his vehicle, with the camera, but Lilly kept the tripod, according to the suit.

Aaron claims he reported the incident to the state police and was then transported to the emergency room for treatment for his injuries.

Lilly violently and maliciously attacked Aaron while was standing lawfully on public property without provocation, which caused him injuries, the suit says.

Aaron claims Lilly’s actions were atrocious, utterly intolerable in a civilized community and so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency, causing substantial and severe emotional distress.

As a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s actions, Aaron suffered severe emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience, according to the suit.

Aaron is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Travis A. Griffith of Olivio & Griffith.

Lilly is represented by E. Lavoyd Morgan Jr. of E. Lavoyd Morgan Jr. & Associates LC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jack Alsop.

Last month, Lilly pleaded no contest to felony destruction of property in connection with the attack. Lilly faces one to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in June, but he could get probation.

He must make restitution to Aaron and workers' compensation for medical expenses and to the station for damaging the camera and the tripod. As part of the plea deal, robbery/grand larceny charges against Lilly were dropped.

Clay Circuit Court case number: 14-C-48

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