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Taylorsville man charged with beating former Shelby County woman to return to court Sept. 9

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By Lisa King

Mark Bruner, who is charged with the brutal beating in 2011 of a woman left by the side of the road, received a new hearing date recently in Shelby Circuit Court.
Bruner, of Taylorsville, will return to court on Sept. 9, and his jury trial on charges of first-degree assault is scheduled for Sept. 30. His trial, previously set for March, had been postponed because some needed paperwork was not in place, but that situation has been corrected.
Bruner’s public defender, Melanie Lowe-Stratton, since has told Shelby Circuit Judge Charles Hickman that her office has received all the medical records they were awaiting from the woman he is charged with assaulting, Denisse Escareno, who now lives in Arizona.
“Everything is in from Arizona,” she said, adding that the discovery portion of the case has been completed.
Bruner, 38, of Taylorsville was indicted last year by a Shelby County Grand Jury on charges of first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence against him in connection with the beating of Escareno on Nov. 5, 2011.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree assault, a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
Bruner was arrested 10 days after Escareno, 24, was found beaten, stabbed and barely alive by passersby on the side of Mount Eden Road, about 2 miles south of Interstate 64.
Escareno, 24, was in a coma at the University of Louisville Hospital until Christmas Day 2011, when she opened her eyes. She has remained unresponsive, however, and was taken home to Arizona in February 2012 by her mother, Norma Zapien, who said doctors told her that her daughter never would recover mental awareness.
Police have said Bruner had picked up Escareno in his truck while she was walking to a cellular-phone store on that Saturday afternoon and that she left the store with him. They haven’t said why he might have beaten her.
Detectives said in court that Escareno was stabbed in the chest and hip area with a screwdriver. Her other serious injury was a deep indentation in the area of her right eyebrow, which, they said, she could have received by jumping from Bruner’s vehicle.
Bruner remains lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center.