Saying, “you’re lucky you’re not here on a murder charge,” District Judge James Wilson on Tuesday gave Joshua Cook the maximum five years in prison for what started as a bar fight.
What started in a Carson Street bar ended after Cook followed Albert Jacobsen to the outside second-floor deck of the nearby city building housing the building department.
The entire incident was caught by the security camera atop the building and showed Cook strangling Jacobsen until he was unconscious then beating him repeatedly with his fists. After that, the video shows Cook first stomping the unconscious victim on the head and then kicking him in the face.
It took Jacobsen more than two minutes to get to the staircase railing and call for help.
He suffered severe damage to his face including a shattered eye socket. He testified he still has memory and other issues and has permanent double vision because of the damage.
Cook, 31, pleaded guilty to the charge of battery with substantial bodily harm saying there was “no excuse for what I did.” Wilson was unmoved, pointing to the level of violence in the attack and the fact that Cook has two previous battery convictions. Rejecting the pre-sentence report recommending probation, he ordered that Cook serve at least two years before he is eligible for parole and a maximum of five years.
One of Cook’s witnesses, Derrick Dennenfelser, said it was Jacobsen who made the first attack outside the bar and that he watched Cook’s head hit the concrete wall before the two were separated. District Attorney Neil Rombardo questioned that testimony telling the judge Dennenfelser gave similar testimony in a previous battery case.
“There is no way Mr. Jacobsen deserved what happened to him,” Rombardo said in asking the maximum penalty. “Mr. Cook pursued him like an animal.”
He also pointed out that when Cook came down the stairs from the roof, he ran in to Sheriff Ken Furlong and, instead of telling him there was some one upstairs who was hurt, ran.
Cook’s lawyer Noel Waters said the beating did start as a bar altercation and there is some testimony that Cook was provoked by Jacobsen. But he conceded that Cook “went beyond what would be called for or proper.”
Waters argued that, since his release from jail nearly six months ago, Cook has been regularly attending anger management and alcoholism treatment classes and that, by all accounts from several friends including his future father-in-law, is “otherwise a well mannered, responsible man.” He said Cook’s history is tied to his problems with alcohol.
“For Josh, when he drinks, he’s a lot more volatile,” Waters said.
Even one of his friends made reference to that in his testimony saying that Cook “is a great guy, good father and good friend to me. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Josh except he should stay away from alcohol.”
Cook was led away by deputies following the sentencing and remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections.