A severe beating with a cast wrapped around a broken arm cost one man his hearing in one ear and landed another in jail in the village of Emmonak, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Joey Lamont, 26, is accused of bludgeoning a drinking companion during an alcohol-fueled argument over women at a small party he was hosting early Sunday morning, troopers' Emmonak post supervisor Sgt. Greg Lavin said.
Troopers say Lamont used his arm cast to hit Darren Hootch, 21, in the head four times, deafening the victim in his left ear and causing three large splits in the top of his head. Hootch also had broken bones in both hands from trying to fend off the attack, Lavin said.
"What I saw was all the injury was to the head -- with the exception of defensive wounds on his hands -- pretty aggressive wounds to his head, and that brought me to my determination," Lavin said.
The beating was so severe the sergeant recommended charges of first-degree attempted murder and assault to the district attorney in Bethel. However, after prosecutors reviewed the case, Lamont was charged with first- and third-degree assault, he said, both felonies.
Bethel District Attorney Andrew Grannik confirmed that Lamont was not currently facing an attempted murder charge but would not discuss specifics of the case. He said it was soon going to a grand jury, which would make the final determination on charges.
Hootch was treated for his injuries at the Emmonak health clinic, Lavin said, and continues to be monitored as his condition improves. The sergeant wasn't sure if his hearing loss was permanent.
Lamon's cast was from an accidental injury, Lavin said. Lamont did not further injure his arm or damage the cast in the attack, though it was due for a regularly scheduled replacement, which he got Monday under trooper supervision, he said.
According to court records, Lamont was charged in a 2000 case with felony and misdemeanor assault and pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor count.
Emmonak is a village of 800 people at the mouth of the Yukon River about 490 miles northwest of Anchorage. Foul weather has delayed transfer of Lamont to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Facility in Bethel, prompting troopers to have him arraigned telephonically, Lavin said.
Lamont remains in the Emmonak jail where he was being held on $25,000 bail with a third-party custodian requirement, Grannik said.
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.