Bruner’s trial is postponed

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He is charged with beating woman, leaving her on roadside

By Lisa King

Mark Bruner, charged with the brutal beating of a woman left by the side of the road, was to have stood trial for assault today, but his jury trial has been postponed, prosecutors say.

Instead, he has a status conference scheduled for next Monday, according to online court dockets.

Shelby County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Melanie Carroll, who is handling the case, did not return phone calls from The Sentinel-News. Shelby County Commonwealth Attorney Laura Donnell said that Bruner’s trial had been postponed but that she did not know why.

Bruner’s public defender, Melanie Lowe-Stratton, was not available for comment.

Bruner, 38, of Taylorsville was indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury on charges of first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence against him in connection with the beating of Denisse Escareno on Nov. 5, 2011.

Bruner was arrested 10 days after Escareno, 24, was found beaten, stabbed and barely alive by passersby on the side of Mount Eden Road about 2 miles south of Interstate 64.
Escareno, 24, was in a coma at the University of Louisville Hospital until Christmas Day 2011, when she opened her eyes. She has remained unresponsive, however, and was taken home to Arizona in February 2012 by her mother, Norma Zapien, who said doctors told her that her daughter never would recover mental awareness.
Bruner has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree assault, a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
Police have said Bruner had picked up Escareno in his truck while she was walking to a cellular-phone store on that Saturday afternoon and that she left the store with him. They haven’t said why he might have beaten her.
Detectives said in court that Escareno was stabbed in the chest and in the hip area with a screwdriver. Her other serious injury was a deep indentation in the area of her right eyebrow, which she could have received by jumping from Bruner’s vehicle.
Bruner remains lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond.