YORK – Richard Walton, III, 30, of Fairmont will be on probation for five years and he will have pay nearly $60,000 in restitution in a case where he beat a York man with a baseball bat and caused serious injuries.
Walton appeared for sentencing this week in York County District Court, before Judge James Stecker.
Initially, Walton was charged with first degree assault, a Class 2 felony, and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class 2 felony. Those charges were reduced to second degree assault, which is a Class 2A felony that carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The responding officers said, in their affidavit filed with the court, when they arrived on the scene the adult male victim was already been transported by ambulance to York General Hospital “with severe head injuries due to being hit at least three times by a bat.”
The officers reported that witnesses told them a man and a woman had been there earlier and the victim had been able to tell them that someone named “D” was the person responsible for the beating.
Officers went inside the victim’s apartment and found a window to be broken, as well as blood in various places in the apartment including the victim’s bed.
The police officers also note that the victim, at that point, had to be taken by helicopter to a Lincoln hospital “due to the severity of his injuries.”
Through the course of their investigation, the officers determined that “D” is Walton.
Investigators said when they spoke with Walton, he indicated he felt he was acting in defense of another person.
“Mr. Walton gives the state a conundrum,” said York County Attorney Christopher Johnson. “There are particular diagnoses from a doctor (who evaluated the defendant) and the state takes that into consideration. And the victim has communicated with my office more than any other victim we’ve encountered – up until the defendant accepted the plea agreement, the victim was asking for him to have a prison sentence because his very severe injuries have and will forever alter his life. But since that time, the victim has reached out in an aggressive manner saying that the defendant is now not appropriate for prison. The victim was being sued for $60,000 in medical bills – and Mr. Walton has said he would pay the $60,000 in restitution. If he is imprisoned, his income will fall to zero and the victim is worried his medical bills will go unpaid. So the state did enter into an agreement (with the victim’s recommendation and involvement) that the state would recommend probation.”
“There is so much to say about this case,” said Deputy York County Defender Patrick Tarr. “(The victim) said some violent things to my client’s (relative) and she was going through breast cancer treatment and (the victim) struck her in the chest after which she has had to have additional surgeries. What my client did was in defense of (his relative). It went way too far. I had him evaluated (for mental health issues) and the report says he has difficulties with executive functions. He struck him with a bat – had it been once it would not have been as serious of a matter, the additional strikes resulted in serious injuries.
“He turned himself in and he cooperated fully. He took responsibility for his actions. I can’t help but come to the conclusion his diagnosis (regarding his mental health) played a part in this, but he’s accepted responsibility. Other than this situation, he leads a law abiding life. He moved here to help (his relative), he’s been employed quite some time now. This is an unfortunate incident that’s happened,” Tarr continued. “What would be most beneficial is a term of supervision, he could go to therapy to make sure something like this never happens again. He’s willing to make restitution and could pay $300 a month. It will take time, but he’s agreed to do that. We are asking for probation so he can make restitution.”
“This is a very serious offense, you did considerable damage to an individual,” Judge Stecker said to Walton. “Given the request of the victim and his financial issues, anything other than probation would be detrimental to the victim. But if you fail to follow the terms, I have available a wide range of incarceration.”
The sentencing order included that Walton make those $300 monthly payments until all of the $59,221.45 of the victim’s medical bills are paid off.