The party that rang in the 2000 New Year ended, for at least three people, with lasting memories: two men ended up in the hospital while a third was jailed on charges of smacking them with a pool cue. Now, that third man has been sentenced to spend the next four New Year's Eve celebrations in prison.
>Two men were sent to the hospital on New Year's Eve, 2000, and now a third will spend four years in prison because of sending them there
The circumstances behind the fight in the Vet's Club on January 1, 2000, were not clear at the time of the arrest. Apparently the three men had been playing pool at the club and betting on the outcome. Police officers, sheriff's deputies responded to a call and took Richard Kenneth Thompson, then 44, into custody. Thompson was charged with a six assault charges. Transported to Pioneer Memorial Hospital were the victims, two brothers, Dave and Chris Skranak. One of the brothers, Chris Skranak, was a resident of Bend. Dave Skranak was identified as a Prineville resident and Thompson had a Madras address. The two brothers were treated and later released.
According to the D.A.'s information case file, Thompson had used a pool cue in the battle "intentionally causing serious physical injury" to the Skranak brothers. Two of the six charges that may be filed, accuse the offender of "manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
Earlier this month, Thompson plead guilty to two counts of third degree assault and was sentenced. Circuit Court Judge George Neilson heard sentencing recommendations from both Thompson's defense attorney and the state. He then listened as Thompson made a statement.
As part of the plea bargain, Neilson sentenced the offender to 48 months for each of the two counts of assault III. Following his release, he will also serve 48 months of post prison supervision.
Neilson found that the two consecutive sentences were called for based on the defendant's history, which included eight prior felony convictions, and the fact that one victim was permanently injured. David Skranak suffered a deep gash and will wear a scar across his forehead the rest of his life.
The judge also levied various assessments and costs against the defendant, totalling $1,000 as well as $3,505.40 to the Oregon Crime Victims Compensation Program.