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Kayaks, beer led to probation

A Barnesville man was sentenced to a year probation and fined $1,000 after being found guilty of striking his wife with an oar in a beer-saturated kayak trip down the Ocmulgee River. Michael Steven Allen, 33, was found guilty by a six-person Monroe County jury recently after a brief trial in which he represented himself in court on misdemeanor battery charges. During the trial, Allen’s wife Tiffany McClendon testified that she was drunk during the six-hour trip down the river with friends that wound up at the Pope’s Ferry landing on June 11, 2017. McClendon said she and Allen got into an argument at Pope’s Ferry because she was trying to swim upstream to the car, while Allen insisted she was going the wrong way.  ’He was trying to help me do the right thing,’ said McClendon. ‘I was not paying him any attention.’ McClendon said she never told then-Monroe County deputy Daniel Ahlstrom that her husband hit her with an oar during the argument. But Ahlstrom, who left the sheriff’s office in 2018 to work for a transportation company, said McClendon and two witnesses told him at the time that Allen had hit her with the oar. He said McClendon was crying, emotional and distraught at the scene. Under questioning from the district attorney’s office, Ahlstrom noted he had been to more than 100 domestic calls in his career and undergone lots of domestic call training. He noted that it’s not uncommon for women to change their story later to protect their husbands. Under cross examination by Allen, Ahlstrom conceded he didn’t note any blood or wounds on McClendon and that he didn’t take any photos or get a written statement from McClendon. Allen had left the scene when Ahlstrom arrived and was arrested several days later. Allen noted during the trial that he does have a prior conviction for involuntary manslaughter. After the verdict, Judge Tommy Wilson sentenced Allen to probation, the $1,000 fine and ordered him to have anger management classes. -Monroe County Reporter

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