JURY ISSUES VARIETY OF DECISIONS IN ASSAULT CASE

August 13, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

The Union County Circuit Court trial of three men accused of beating David Stephens outside a La Grande bar last November ended Friday with a variety of decisions.

Jacob T. Bolin, Loren Shaw and Seth Hassinger were charged with third-degree felony assault, fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

The jury, which heard the case Wednesday through Friday, found Hassinger not guilty of all charges.

Shaw was found guilty of fourth-degree assault for recklessly causing the severe injury to the back of Stephens head and of disorderly conduct. He was found not guilty of third-degree assault (being aided by the others in causing the injuries to Stephens face) and not guilty of recklessly causing the injuries to the face.

The jury found Bolin guilty of disorderly conduct but not guilty on the two assault charges.

Sentencing will be set in the next few weeks, District Attorney Russ West said.

Stephens received serious head injuries following a disagreement with the three outside the Long Branch.

According to blood samples, Stephens had had some alcohol, but was not intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of .06, said Robert Hill, a Umatilla County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case. Stephens, Hill said, suggested they calm down in a friendly, reasonable manner.

Bolin, Hassinger and Shaw had been drinking earlier at another bar and were reported to be keyed up, Hill said. One of them slapped Stephens.

When slapped, Stephens did hit back, testimony revealed.

West said Stephens, 41, lost consciousness and was transported to Grande Ronde Hospital and then to St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla with a serious brain injury and a subdural hematoma. Stephens was in a coma for a long time before being discharged in December, West said.

The jury decided after hearing from witnesses and what police officers saw at the scene that the the responsibility should be shared.