COQUILLE — A Bandon man will serve almost six years in prison after he was found guilty of second-degree assault when he punched another Bandon man outside a local tavern in September, critically injuring him.
Terrance Clarkson, 32, was found guilty by unanimous decision of the 12-person jury in a two-day trial that concluded Nov. 6 in Coos County Circuit Court with Judge Andrew Combs presiding. He was sentenced Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 12, in Judge Martin Stone's courtroom to 70 months, the minimum mandatory sentence for second-degree assault, a Measure 11 crime.
Clarkson is not eligible for parole or a reduced sentence. He will also be on post-prison supervision for 36 months once released, and will not be allowed to have contact with Eto Landucci, the victim in the case, and will have to pay restitution.
The amount of restitution will be determined at a hearing set for 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, in Coos County Circuit Court.
Landucci, 44, of Bandon, suffered a broken jaw and a traumatic brain injury when he was assaulted with a single blow by Clarkson outside a local bar on Saturday, Sept. 14, during Bandon's annual Cranberry Festival. Police were called to the Arcade Tavern, 135 Alabama Ave., SE in Old Town at 5:20 p.m.
The blow caused Landucci to fall backwards and strike his head on the concrete, causing life-threatening injuries.
He was flown to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland where he underwent emergency brain surgery and was listed in critical condition. He underwent additional surgeries then suffered pneumonia and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, his parents said.
Landucci is now home and was able to testify at the trial, but faces another surgery and is still suffering from his injuries, according to his family.
"The way the evidence came out, there was the beginning of an altercation and Eto came up to intervene as a good Samaritan," said Coos County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jody Newby, who prosecuted the case.
Newby said Clarkson came out of the tavern "with the intent to confront Eto, who was trying to intervene."
Clarkson said he was acting in self-defense after being taunted by Landucci verbally and with a pool cue prior to the incident, but Newby said there was "no evidence" that Landucci had even been in the tavern.
"It was all on video," Newby said. "(Clarkson) said he went outside to confront the victim and his fists were clenched. But all the people who testified said Eto didn't say anything and was just trying to defuse the situation."
Ten people who were present when the incident occurred, several of them who don't know Landucci, testified on his behalf. One person testified on behalf of the defendant.
Kathleen Dyer, Clarkson's lawyer, said in court documents that he had no criminal history and has strong ties to the community. He told arresting officer Trevor Sanne that he punched Landucci because he though he was about to be hit by him, court documents indicate.
Witnesses said a man named TJ Rhodes appeared to be involved in an altercation with a man named August Albers.
"(Eto) Landucci approached as a good Samaritan and attempted to calm the situation down," Newby wrote in court documents. "The defendant then exited the tavern and exchanged words with Mr. Landucci, then re-entered the tavern, then quickly exited again."
On video, Landucci can be seen putting his arm out as Clarkson came toward him, then showed Clarkson swatting Landucci's hand to the side and punching him "with a closed fist on the left side of his face." Landucci was knocked unconscious and immediately crumpled to the ground. Then the defendant and Rhodes went back into the tavern.
"He's able to talk and walk, but he's not OK," Newby said of Landucci's current condition.