Basalt man receives two years of probation for punch to face |

Basalt man receives two years of probation for punch to face

A Basalt man pleaded guilty Monday to felony assault and will spend the next two years on probation after punching another man in the face this summer.

Gary Williams, 59, would have faced between five and 16 years in prison for the offense, which caused serious bodily injury, but a plea deal reached with the District Attorney’s Office not only allowed him to avoid prison but will wipe the guilty plea from his record if he successfully completes probation.

“Anytime somebody punches somebody else it’s a big deal to the court,” District Judge Chris Seldin said. “It’s unusual for a second-degree assault with serious bodily injury not to draw any time in custody.”

Seldin noted Monday that he did not have to accept the plea deal and said it “caused concern for the court.” However, he said the DA’s Office has wide latitude to decide where to best put its resources and said he would rely on prosecutor Don Nottingham’s judgment in the case.

Nottingham said Williams had no prior criminal history and that his behavior in August was “isolated in nature.”

In August, Williams allegedly got into an argument with a man renting garage space from him over the terms of the man’s lease. Williams admitted at the time he lost his temper and said Monday he punched the man below his eye during the dispute.

The victim said in court Monday that he continues to suffer the ramifications of the punch, which include blurry vision and his inability to drive at night.

“My life has changed,” the man said. “I can’t do what I used to do.”

Chip McCrory, Williams’ attorney, said his client potentially had a self-defense argument, but decided not to fight the charge.

Williams will be on supervised probation for the next two years, must undergo an anger-management evaluation and complete 60 hours of community service.

In other District Court news Monday:

• A Carbondale man pleaded guilty to criminal mischief in connection with a load of copper scrap stolen this fall from the driveway of a home in Snowmass Village.

Elmer Carrillo-Rodriguez, 35, was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office and will have to complete 24 hours of community service.

Carrillo-Rodriguez told Seldin he thought the scrap — which he sold to another man for $600 — was garbage.

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