Man sentenced to four years for `vicious’ attack
An attack on two campers by a group of men described by one witness as “a pack of wild animals” has resulted in a four-year prison sentence for one of the attackers.
Carbondale resident Derrick Goodwin, 20, was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, following an emotionally charged hearing in Pitkin County’s Ninth Judicial District Court.
At least three others who allegedly took part in the attack have not been arrested.
In mid-September, Goodwin pleaded guilty to felony menacing and misdemeanor assault, resulting from the vicious attack on two Glenwood Springs teen-agers June 8. The teens were camping at the Thompson Creek campground, near the Spring Gulch Nordic Skiing Area outside Carbondale.
Goodwin was part of a group which participated in the unprovoked beating, according to testimony in court Monday. Chelsea Challis, 18, a witness to the assault, told the court that Goodwin and the other attackers behaved like a “pack of wild animals.”
Challis and several other Glenwood Springs High School classmates were celebrating the beginning of their summer break when the attack occurred. The group had gone to Thompson Creek to celebrate and camp out, she explained. The night had gone smoothly until Goodwin and the others arrived.
Zack Chicoine, 18, suffered broken teeth and deep lacerations near his right eye, requiring about 50 stitches and plastic surgery. He testified that the attackers punched and kicked him numerous times. A second victim did not testify.
Challis and Chicoine both asked the judge to give Goodwin “the maximum” prison sentence. “Why?” Challis asked. “Because he wouldn’t stop.”
Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills also pushed for a lengthy sentence, telling Judge J.E. DeVilbiss, “They went to that party with the express purpose of fighting. These were truly a pack of wild animals.”
When given an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing, a tearful Goodwin turned to Challis and Chicoine and apologized.
“I am terribly sorry,” he said. “Every day since I’ve regretted it deeply … I was a bad person. I used to live without any care, but I believe I have changed. I’ve started to attend [Alcoholics Anonymous] and I understand that I have a problem. I also understand that I need to be punished.”
Goodwin told the court he had been drinking heavily on the night of the attack.
The defendant’s statements made an impact on DeVilbiss. He said Goodwin’s use of the phrase, “I believe I have changed,” as opposed to, “I know I have changed,” demonstrated an understanding of the meaning of change, which is more often said than done.
Nevertheless, DeVilbiss said “the attack was so savage … it causes me to find that there were extraordinary, aggravating circumstances. And, therefore, I order you to serve four years in the Colorado Department of Prisons.”
A class-five felony normally warrants sentencing in the range of two to six years. Probation officer Kyle Miller recommended a two-year prison sentence.
DeVilbiss also ordered Goodwin to pay more than $9,000 in restitution, the sum of the victims’ medical bills and about $6,000 in damages to a vehicle that Goodwin’s group trashed after beating up the two Glenwood teens.
The district attorney told Judge DeVilbiss that he intends “to follow up” on the investigation into the identities of the others who participated in the attack.
Wills said Goodwin named one of the other attackers, whom authorities have been unsuccessful in locating. Goodwin also told authorities he didn’t know the names of the two other suspects, Hispanics whom Goodwin said he knew only by nicknames.
DeVilbiss told Goodwin that if he were to remember the names of the two Hispanics who participated in the assault, he may reconsider the sentence. Furthermore, the judge said he might be willing to readjust the prison sentence if Goodwin completes the difficult inmate training program.
As a deputy led a shackled Goodwin from the court, he stopped in front of Challis and Chicoine, who were seated in the front row, and tearfully apologized again and shook their hands.
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