Walla Walla man pleads guilty in assaults

Nicholas T. Hunter was accused of attacking two people and leading police on a vehicle chase in February.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man accused of beating his girlfriend, hitting another person and leading police on a vehicle chase in February pleaded guilty Thursday in Walla Walla County Superior Court to two felonies.

Nicholas T. Hunter, 21, of 410 N. Third Ave., entered the guilty pleas to one count of second-degree assault -- domestic violence and one count of third-degree assault.

Hunter faces a standard-range jail term of six months to a year when he's sentenced later. In a plea agreement, the prosecution is recommending the low end of that range.

Hunter initially was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count each of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and third-degree malicious mischief. But the case was reduced in exchange for his guilty pleas.

Officials said Hunter got into an argument with his girlfriend, Jessica R. Taylor, at their home the afternoon of Feb. 20. Hunter choked Taylor on a bed, then she armed herself with a baseball bat outside the residence, police said.

Hunter wrested the bat away from Taylor, 20, and struck her with it multiple times all over her body, including her head, according to a police report filed in court.

Taylor's friend, Megan L. Mazetta, 19, tried to intervene, but Hunter struck her on her right arm before she got control of the bat. The women ran into the house, but Hunter kicked in the door, the police report says.

An officer arrived less than 40 seconds after dispatchers received a 911 call for help at 2:49 p.m. Hunter reportedly had fled in a tan Ford Bronco, which officers then pursued west on Pine Street, north on Ninth Avenue and west on Edith Avenue with Hunter traveling at speeds up to 70 mph. He stopped the vehicle and was apprehended in the 700 block of Edith, police said.

Taylor and Mazetta were transported by ambulance to Providence St. Mary Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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