Hammer attack lands Oak Harbor man 1-year prison sentence

A 23-year-old Oak Harbor man who broke another man's spine with a ball peen hammer was recently sentenced to prison.

Christopher Avance pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court April 5 to assault in the second degree.

Under a plea bargain, the prosecution and defense recommended that Avance receive an exceptional sentence beyond the standard range because of the level of bodily harm. Court documents state that the victim "had neck vertebrae fractures from a ball peen hammer."

Judge Vickie Churchill agreed with the recommendations and imposed an exceptional sentence of one year and one day in prison.

The police report indicates that Avance assaulted the 19-year-old man in a rage over the alleged sexual assault of his ex-wife.

Avance was accused of walking into the man Oak Harbor apartment uninvited and assaulting him on the night of Nov. 17, 2009, according to the police report.

Witnesses said Avance hit the young man on the back with a hammer and broke a glass on his head. The responding officer wrote that the man's face and head were covered with blood from a large head laceration.

Avance admitted to police that he assaulted the man. Avance said he was upset that the man had sexually assaulted Avance's ex-wife earlier in the day.

The woman, who was a witness to the assault, said she did not want to bring charges against the man in connection with an alleged sexual assault, the officer wrote.

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