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Wed, Oct. 23

Man arrested after allegedly punching other man over food stamps

Jesse Norman Hart

Jesse Norman Hart

Prescott police arrested a man this past Friday on charges of aggravated assault after he allegedly punched another man repeatedly in the face near the Staples store on Sheldon Street.

An officer arrested Jesse Norman Hart, 33, and booked him into the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde on charges of aggravated assault.

At about 12:25 p.m., an officer answered a call about an assault and found Prescott firefighters and Life Line Ambulance paramedics treating Mark Clevenger whose left eye was swollen shut and had severe facial injuries.

"An altercation occurred over a food stamp card," said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department.

Clevenger told police he loaned his card to a female friend so she could buy a cake for her daughter, but she did not return the card to him.

Later, Clevenger said a male friend of hers "got in his face about it," according to the police report. A short time after the man walked away, he returned with Hart.

"A group of individuals approached Clevenger and for unknown reasons Hart began assaulting him," Reinhardt said. "Clevenger sustained serious facial injuries requiring hospitalization."

Afterward, Hart left the area heading toward Starbucks, according to the police report.

"As the officer tried to locate Hart, a witness said he got into a truck pulling out of the area," Reinhardt said. "The officer caught up, made a traffic stop, and found Hart was a passenger in the truck."

Hart initially told the officer that he didn't hit anyone, that he hadn't been near Staples, and that he had been talking with people about God in the park across from Starbucks, according to the police report.

Later, Hart told the officer he had been where Clevenger was, but insisted he did not hit him.

"After further investigation, Hart was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and booked into the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde," Reinhardt said.

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