OLYMPIA - A jury acquitted a 31-year-old man of second-degree assault after he testified that he acted in self-defense during a fight Aug. 10 in a bathroom at Charlie's Tavern on Fourth Avenue.
The fight left an alleged victim with broken facial bones.
Gregg Warren cried tears of joy after he was acquitted Friday. He said he is glad he spent money on a private attorney after a public defender had tried to get him to do a “fast-track” plea deal that would have resulted in a felony conviction and a three-month prison sentence.
“I was innocent the whole time,” Warren said Friday outside court.
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During the trial, Warren’s defense attorney, Saxon Rodgers, told the jury that there were inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses who had claimed that Warren started the fight. He also said his client acted in self-defense after the alleged victim attacked him.
One witness who initially told Olympia police that he was in the bathroom when the fight started later said he was not in the bathroom and did not see what happened.
Warren and the alleged victim in the case both took the stand and told conflicting stories about who started the fight.
Warren said that the alleged victim punched him in the bathroom at Charlie’s for no reason, while the alleged victim said the opposite.
“I defended myself; he took a pop at me,” Warren said after the verdict was announced. “He couldn’t even identify us later on.”
Warren’s cousin, Dale, also was initially charged in the assault. The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office later dismissed the charge, after the alleged victim admitted he didn’t see Dale Warren throw a punch, Dale Warren’s attorney, James Dixon, said Friday.
Gregg and Dale Warren said outside court that they are angry at the Olympia Police Department for pursuing charges against them. They added that fighting the charges will cost them about $13,000. Gregg Warren said he lost his job in Chicago after being charged, and Dale Warren said he lost his house.
The jury considered whether the state would have to foot Gregg Warren’s legal bills. To find the state liable for Gregg Warren’s attorney’s fees, they would have had to find by a “preponderance of evidence” standard that the evidence showed Gregg Warren acted in self-defense. The jury unanimously decided that the evidence did not prove he acted in self-defense.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465