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Accused claims assault by assault victim

Possible witness intimidation in the case of a bouncer accused of assaulting a patron caused a Superior County judge to continue the trial that was supposed to start this week.

Coupeville attorney Craig Platt said at a hearing last Friday that his client, 26-year-old David Bockman, was assaulted Feb. 5 by the alleged victim and several of the prosecution’s witnesses in the upcoming trial. He called the incident “tantamount to witness intimidation” and asked Judge Vickie Churchill to continue the trial until after the police investigate.

Prosecutors charged Bockman July 30 with assault in the second degree for reckless infliction of substantial bodily harm. If convicted, he could face three to nine months in jail.

Police accused Bockman of breaking the jaw of a patron in front of an officer.

Officer Mike Bailey wrote in his report that he went into PW Murphy’s in response to another incident early in the morning of Feb. 21, 2004. He saw a bouncer, Bockman, holding another man in a “carotid neck restraint,” Bailey wrote. The 23-year-old victim was pale and motionless, so Bailey ordered Bockman to let him go.

Bockman released the man and pushed him forward, Bailey wrote, causing the man to fall forward limp and hit his face on the floor. Bailey claimed he saw the man’s head bounce. After a few seconds, the man came to and said he was choking on blood, so the officer rolled him on his side.

The victim lost several of his teeth and suffered a broken jaw, which had to be wired shut, court documents show.

According to a police report, Bockman said the patron had been fighting and he asked the man to leave. When he refused, Bockman said he escorted him out and put him in a bear-type hug.

At the court hearing, Platt said Bockman claimed the alleged victim and his friends recently confronted him at PW Murphys. One of the men punched Bockman in the face and threatened him, Platt said. He added that a police detective is investigating the incident.

“There’s an ongoing problem with ongoing violence at PW Murphys,” he said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Margot Carter, however, argued that the trial should go forward as scheduled since the recent assault occurred a year after the original assault and wasn’t relevant to the case.

Yet Churchill agreed that the trial should be put off until the police can look into the matter.

“This hasn’t been an easy case,” she said. “It hasn’t gone through the process easily.”

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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