A 30-year-old Langley man was charged this week in an assault that left a well-known Oak Harbor youth football coach with a serious brain injury.
Prosecutors charged Trevor J. Fleming in Island County Superior Court on Nov. 5 with second-degree assault with aggravating circumstances.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme said he wasn’t able to charge Fleming with a more serious charge, such as first-degree assault, because of the issue of intent. To convict someone of first-degree assault, the prosecutor would have to prove that the suspect intended to cause great bodily harm.
“The intent would be hard to show if you just punch someone once and run away,” Ohme said.
The prosecutor is alleging an aggravating circumstance, which is that “the victim’s injuries substantially exceed the level of bodily harm necessary to satisfy the elements of the offense,” according to court documents.
Under the standard sentencing range, Fleming would face from three to nine months in jail if convicted. If a jury finds there was an aggravator, the judge could sentence himself outside the standard range.
Ohme said he spoke with the victim, Oak Harbor native Tyson Boon. He and his wife were satisfied with the charges.
The police report on the alleged punching incident is short on details, but describes a seemingly pointless assault on the night of Sept. 9.
A witness said he and Boon were standing outside the Mi Pueblo restaurant when the suspect came outside and bumped into Boon. The witness claimed the man, later identified as Fleming, said that he was drinking and then reached around and struck Boon, according to the report by Oak Harbor Police Officer Serloyd Carter.
The witness said he turned around and saw Boon lying unconscious on the ground.
The officers searched for Fleming and found him walking near to the Safeway store. After being arrested, Fleming said that he and three friends had been at the Element nightclub and then Mi Pueblo, where he sang karaoke that night. He said he left the restaurant and was walking to his grandmother’s house; he denied being involved in an altercation, according to Carter’s report.
In an interview after he returned from the hospital, Boon said the force of the impact broke the back of his skull and caused bleeding in the front of his brain. He was airlifted to Seattle and remained in intensive care for five days.
Boon is still recuperating from the brain injuries. For days and even weeks after the assault, he had trouble walking, performing simple tasks and speaking. For weeks he had trouble with his memory or even recognizing friends. Boon had to go through intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy after returning home.
Ohme said Boon seemed improved when they spoke recently.
“I think he’s doing better,” he said. “… He’s not 100 percent, but he’s doing better.”