Assistant Federal Defender Steven Barth said the criminal case centers on self-defense: Frizzell, who has used addresses in both Colebrook, N.H. and Stratford, N.H. during the past year, was defending himself after he was improperly grabbed from behind by Burch.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Corinne Smith has maintained Burch was attempting to protect the mail as required by law. Smith said it was improper for somebody to reach into the Jeep for one of their packages.
The government said Frizzell reached in through an open Jeep door to retrieve a package addressed to him that had been placed on the center console by Burch.
It is what happened in the next few minutes that the jury will need to sort out.
Barth said when Frizzell was grabbed from behind around the upper chest near the neckline his client reacted out of shock and fear. He spun to get away and threw one punch. It was unclear if the punch or hitting the ground knocked out Burch, who ended up with a concussion and later was taken to the nearby hospital by Sheriff Colby.
Barth said Frizzell had never met the substitute carrier before.
He said Frizzell was a hard-working young man, who labored in construction, welding and landscaping 6 days a week and sometimes 7.
Brenda McKenzie, who came across the scuffle on Maidstone Lake Road in Brunswick, and Bethany MacDonald, who worked at the U.S. Post Office in North Stratford, N.H. were the lone witnesses late Monday afternoon.