A man charged with snatching someone’s purse at the CVS Pharmacy in Boutte and then entering the FEMA trailer of a man and assaulting him just days before the purse snatching incident had all charges dismissed, except for one – battery of a police officer.
Charles M. Baloney, 20, of 827 Milling Ave., who repeatedly stated his innocence, was charged with aggravated burglary and illegal possession of a firearm after a Sept.20 incident when authorities said he forced his way into the home of a Boutte man, pistol whipped him and attempted to take his money. Those charges were dropped. In a second incident, deputies stated Baloney had snatched a woman’s purse. Those charges were dropped too.
Baloney must now serve time for an injury to a deputy that occurred as he was trying to run away from police.
“I don’t know why he ran,” Sarah Baloney, Charles’ mother, said. “I wish to God he hadn’t but he did and now he’s serving time for something he didn’t do because all of our witnesses saw what happened,” she said.
“We live in an apartment complex that’s in pretty bad shape and when Charles was running to try to get to our apartment, that police officer reached to grab the back of his shirt and then fell into the pole and it came loose and hit her in the face. All of the witnesses saw it.”
Sarah says her son has always been frightened of police since he was a child.
“My son said all along it wasn’t him that did this,” she said. “He still has to serve time.”
Adding to that was a beating witnesses said occurred when other deputies arrived on the scene and Baloney was already in handcuffs. Baloney’s mother and five other eyewitnesses filed a complaint with Internal Affairs.
Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes issued this response to the alleged beating in an article that appeared in the Herald-Guide in Dec. of 2007.
“On September 20, 2007, Baloney forced his way into the home of a man, robbed him at gunpoint and pistol-whipped the victim before leaving. On September 21, 2007, the next day, Baloney committed a simple robbery of a female victim (incident in question) in the parking lot of a local pharmacy and fled.
“Moments later he was spotted by deputies nearby and immediately fled into the apartment of another victim. This victim screamed for him to leave whereupon he fled from that apartment and physically shoved a female detective into an iron post, causing injuries sending her to the hospital.
“As other deputies arrived on the scene, Baloney began to violently resist arrest as he has done in the past.
Reasonable force was necessary in order to apprehend him.
“We will have no further comment upon these cases until the criminal proceedings have been concluded in court.”
But eyewitnesses say that Baloney was pleading his innocence, repeatedly saying “I didn’t do anything.” Witnesses also said he begged for his mother to help him as he was beaten and sprayed in the face with mace after already being handcuffed.
Deanne Sirmon, Baloney’s attorney, said her client continues to maintain his innocence and did so even minutes before taking his plea.
“I feel we acted in the best interest of my client,” Sirmon said. “He really maintained his innocence throughout the case and does even now.”
Sirmon says the fact that several police officers would have gotten a chance to testify against Baloney made the case strong for them and weak for him.
“I’m not sure why the district attorney decided to drop the other charges in this case, but I can tell you that it’s not unusual for deals like this to be made in an effort to avoid trial and other court proceedings,” she said. “All of the things are taken into consideration. The evidence, and other factors, were used to determine what happens to charges that are filed against someone.”
Sirmon said Baloney was looking at serving between 45 and 99 years in prison. Now, he will serve 10 years.
“We are pleased that he received a 10-year sentence,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said.