A Columbia man is standing trial this week on an attempted murder charge stemming from a fight outside of his Columbia apartment complex that prosecutors say left the other man unable to walk, speak or feed himself, according to Howard County State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan. 

Johnny Ray Hungerford, Jr., 42, of the 5600 block of Stevens Forest Road in Columbia, is facing a first-degree attempted murder charge and assault charges in connection with the Jan. 18 incident. 

Hungerford is accused in the beating of Joseph Alexander Harris, 55, who suffered a broken sternum, a stroke and brain trauma as a result of the incident, Kirwan said. 

According to the charging documents, Hungerford attacked Harris because he thought he was dating his ex-girlfriend, who testified in court that the two separated at the time of the incident. She also testified she saw Hungerford beat Harris and that he kicked him two or three times, Kirwan said. 


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Hungerford's defense attorney, Debra Saltz, said that Hungerford was assaulted first and that some of the injuries, specifically the broken sternum and stroke, were caused by a responding county police officer when he performed a procedure called a "sternum rub" on Harris. 

The officer, who testified Tuesday, denied that he fractured Harris's sternum, Kirwan said. 

The trial is expected to continue through Wednesday, Kirwan said.