Despite shifting testimony, Philadelphia Police officer held for trial in alleged assault of wife

James Timms, a 14-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department who was suspended with intent to dismiss earlier this month, was held for trial on charges that he physically assaulted his wife, also a city police officer, in their Germantown home on Jan. 2.

Both Timms’ 18-year-old daughter Kimberly and Internal Affairs Lt. Steve Nolan testified before Municipal Court Judge Frank Brady on Tuesday afternoon during a preliminary hearing that kept assault and terroristic-threats charges intact.

Brady’s decision came after Kimberly Timms testified that she did not remember giving many details of an alleged physical altercation between her parents which left Markita Joel suffering from damage to her lips and two front teeth.

A shot was also fired inside the home on the 100 block of W. Manheim St. after Timms allegedly threatened to kill himself after the dispute.

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“Not at all,” responded Timms’ attorney Qawi Abdul Rahman when asked whether he was surprised by the decision after hearing Kimberly’s inability to remember details from a nine-page statement to Nolan. He likened the preliminary hearing to a “rubber stamp.”

What did the statement say?

According to police statements and witness accounts, Timms returned home from work around 11 p.m. on Jan. 2. Kimberly Timms said her father ordered her to clean the house and wash the dishes “with an attitude toward me.”

She continued that she went upstairs and fell asleep when she “heard a boom.” She testified that when she went back downstairs, Timms “told me ‘your mother fell out of a chair.'” 

Kimberly Timms then saw her mother, with blood on her hands, in the kitchen so “I got mad and started yelling at my dad” while her mother “was trying to calm me down, saying it’s not what it looks like.”

She said she then called her brother who drove over so they could take their mother to the hospital. As they were en route, Kimberly Timms testified, they saw police cars and amblances heading along Germantown Avenue in the direction of their home so they returned.

There, a neighbor told them that she called police when she heard a gunshot in the home. According to police records, James Timms fired a shot into the ceiling with his wife’s service weapon after threatening to kill himself. No one was struck by the bullet which was never recovered.

Denying previous statements

In a statement given to Nolan several hours after the call to police, Kimberly Timms said that she heard a dispute and then tip-toed down the stairs so no one could hear her.

There, according to the statement, she watched her father punch her mother in the face four times and slam her head into the dining-room floor twice.

“No,” Kimberly Timms responded when Assistant District Attorney Kelly Harrell asked whether she recalled giving that statement.

She also said she did not remember telling investigators that James Timms pushed and verbally assaulted her or that physical disputes happened “all the time” at the family home.

“I didn’t tell the lieutenant that he said he was going to kill me or my mom,” the 18-year-old testified in Courtroom 906. “He said he wanted to kill himself but never threatened to kill anybody else.”

For his part, Nolan said Timms “used to be” a police officer, that he never interviewed the suspect and that attempts to find the bullet were unsuccessful.

Joell was in court but did not testify and left the courtroom when witnesses testified.

Timms’ next court appearance is a Feb. 19 formal arraignment.

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