Man sentenced in February assaults

Nicholas T. Hunter used a bat to beat his girlfriend and hit another woman.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man has been ordered to serve eight months for beating his girlfriend and hitting another person in February.

Nicholas T. Hunter, 21, of 410 N. Third Ave., was sentenced Tuesday in Superior Court to seven months in the County Jail. In addition, he will serve 30 days on the Department of Corrections work crew.

In handing down the sentence, Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann said he couldn't go along with a prosecution recommendation of the low end of the standard range of six months to a year.

"This was a particularly brutal attack with a baseball bat," Lohrmann said. "It was awful. Absolutely awful."

Before the sentence was imposed, Hunter told Lohrmann he didn't know what happened that day and substance abuse contributed to the crimes.

"I was not myself," he said. "I am sincerely sorry for my actions."

As required by law, Lohrmann gave Hunter credit for the 54 days he'd already served in connection with the case. Lohrmann also placed Hunter on a year of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.

Hunter pleaded guilty April 28 to one count of second-degree assault -- domestic violence and one count of third-degree assault.

Officials said he 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 allegedly 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.

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.

Lohrmann told Hunter it was imperative that he stay away from Taylor -- even it she wants to see him -- and sternly lectured him about any future violent behavior.

"You have absolutely no right to touch another human being without their permission," Lohrmann said.

"No right."

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

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