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‘He is mentally ill,’ witness says of man who punched pregnant woman in the gut

Burtrum Photo from the Muscogee County Jail.

A 39-year-old Columbus man who repeatedly punched his 4-months’ pregnant ex-girlfriend in the abdomen is mentally ill and needs help, a witness Tuesday told a Columbus Recorder’s Court judge.

Burtrum A. Smith was arrested on battery and child cruelty charges at 10:10 p.m. Friday after a domestic dispute at a Floyd Road apartment, a police officer said.

“He punched me like several times in the stomach,” the victim told Judge Michael Cielinski before he found the evidence sufficient to send the case to Superior Court, setting Smith’s bonds at $15,000.

Smith also hit her with a stapler and punched her in the back of the head as he held her in a chokehold, the woman said.

A witness sharing the victim’s last name said Smith has a mental illness and needs treatment, and his altercations with his ex-girlfriend are ongoing.

“This is not the first time this happened,” the witness said.

Investigators said Smith was trying to “harm or kill” the unborn child. The pregnant woman was examined by emergency medical technicians and reported no serious injuries.

Smith had a bite mark on his head from the fight, police said.