Franklin County Courthouse

Criminal charges were filed last week against a Union man who police said threatened bodily harm to his then-former girlfriend with an ax and a handsaw, according to electronic court records. The alleged victim in this case, who is not identified in court records, has since resumed a romantic relationship with the man police said attacked her. 

Steven A. Gumpenberger, 37, was charged by Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Becker with three misdemeanor charges, including domestic assault, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. 

In the probable cause statement, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy said he and other deputies arrived at a home in the 2300 block of Prairie Dell Road in November 2020 after receiving a report of a burglary and assault. When deputies arrived they found Gumpenberger, who reportedly told deputies that “he got very drunk the night before, woke up during the afternoon and observed blood in the bathroom.”

Gumpenberger reportedly said to the deputies that he assumed he had been assaulted and his home had been burglarized. 

Deputies observed blood on the bathroom floor, bathroom sink, toilet and tub and noted that there was a baseball bat lying in blood on the floor. Deputies also noted in their report that, other than general clutter in the home, there was no signs of forced entry or a struggle inside the house. 

Deputies then asked to see Gumpenberger’s phone. After refusing, Gumpenberger broke the phone in half, rendering it inoperable, according to the deputies. 

After further questioning, Gumpenberger acknowledged that he had not been assaulted but rather had fallen in the bathroom and struck his head. He said he had bled all over the bathroom from the injury. 

Deputies also reached out to Gumpenberger’s former — later current — girlfriend. She said she was OK and not involved, but later she contacted deputies to admit that she had lied to authorities. 

In a telephone interview, the woman said she was in the home with Gumpenberger when he forced her to remove her clothes, beat her with a metal curtain rod, dumped the contents of a trash can on top of her and then threatened her that if she yelled, he would kill her. Once Gumpenberger left the bathroom, the woman attempted to flee the room but found that he had nailed the bathroom door shut. 

Gumpenberger later returned to the bathroom where he brandished a handsaw and ax in his hands. When he lunged forward, the woman reportedly struck Gumpenberger with an Avon cologne bottle, allowing her to get away from him. The woman stayed the night and offered to assist Gumpenberger in cleaning up the bathroom, but when she left the next day, Gumpenberger called 911 to report the burglary. 

A week later, the woman missed a scheduled interview. When authorities returned to Gumpenberger’s home, they found her inside. She has declined to be involved in the prosecution of this case, according to court records. 

Gumpenberger, who has an active domestic assault case also proceeding in the county judicial system, faces several possible sentences if convicted of these charges. He could be sentenced to up to one year in the county jail or be ordered to pay a fine up to $2,000 for the domestic assault, the kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence charges. 

Gumpenberger is expected to return to the Franklin County Courthouse for a hearing on Wednesday, June 16, before Associate Circuit Court Judge Stanley Williams.