Steamboat Springs A man was sentenced to 22 months in prison Friday for his role in a July 2010 fight in Hahn’s Peak.
Anthony Richard Allen was found guilty of second-degree assault under the heat of passion in a Jan. 6 jury trial in District Court before Judge Michael O’Hara.
The prison time stems from what started out as a dispute over noise and escalated into a physical altercation in which Allen and another man, Richard Galusha, then 55, went to the hospital.
Trial testimony stated that Allen, then 39, was at his family’s cabin in Hahn’s Peak with his then-17-year-old son, his girlfriend and another family member.
Shirley Stocks was staying at a neighboring cabin with her husband, Galusha, and went to talk to the Allens about noise. She returned later to talk about the noise and got into an argument with Allen’s son. Galusha intervened and got into a fight with the son. Allen said he intervened to protect his son, and he took Galusha to the ground. At one point, Stocks hit the son and Allen with a flashlight.
“There is no doubt in my mind that (Allen) would have killed him had I not stepped in with the flashlight,” Stocks said.
Allen testified he thought the blow had come from Galusha, so he began hitting Galusha again. Allen and his son suffered minor injuries from being hit with the flashlight. Galusha had a cracked eye socket, and his nose was shattered.
“I witnessed a brutal beating of my husband, and at one point I thought he was dead,” Stocks told the court.
Galusha was initially given a summons for third-degree assault, but he was not prosecuted once the Routt County District Attorney’s Office identified him as the victim.
Before Allen was sentenced, 11 friends and family members spoke emotionally about him to the judge. They described Allen as hardworking, community-minded family man. They also pleaded with the judge to not send Allen to prison because he has a son who needs support and is about to graduate high school and go to college.
“Put my dad in prison, what’s that going to benefit me?” Allen’s son told the judge. “Without him, I don’t see myself going far in life.”
Allen’s attorney, Larry Combs, told the judge Allen’s intentions were to protect his son and they were a “natural passionate response of any father.”
Stocks told the judge that she and her husband “will never again in our lives experience a comfort level that we enjoyed before this assault.”
“I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same,” Stocks said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle argued that Allen should be sentenced to the three-year maximum. Prindle said Allen lacked remorse and inflicted serious bodily injury.
“At one point in time this may have been self-defense, but it turned into a serious assault,” Prindle said.
Prindle also argued the crime was committed while Allen was on felony probation. Allen in 2009 was convicted of felony menacing for assaulting his wife with a hammer.
Allen told the judge he was “truly sorry for everything that happened.”
“It ruined my life,” he said.
Allen said he would have stopped fighting had he known it was Stocks who hit him with a flashlight.
Allen turned at one point and addressed Galusha directly.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Galusha. I really am. I didn’t know it wasn’t you that hit me.”
When explaining why he did not sentence Allen to the three-year maximum, O’Hara said he took into account an error in a sentencing recommendation from the probation department that incorrectly stated that Allen had two past felony convictions. He said he was against the minimum 15-month sentence.
“He needs to have a strong message from the court to modify his behavior moving forward,” O’Hara said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com