Joshua P. Rich, 21, will serve a nine-month sentence after pleading guilty Wednesday in a nearly two-year-old downtown Olympia assault case.
The Gig Harbor man appeared before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. He was charged with first-degree assault following his Feb. 4 arrest, but was offered the lesser charge as part of a plea deal.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jim Powers said that the lesser charge was fair. Rich’s victim, the defendant in a related stabbing case, was allowed to plead down to second-degree assault.
“The nature of the case is very complicated,” Powers said.
Rich’s alleged victim, 36-year-old Daniel Homan, stabbed a third man near Sylvester Park in July 2013. Rich allegedly witnessed the stabbing and attacked Homan instead of calling the police, according to court documents.
The second attack was recorded on an Intercity Transit bus’ video security system. The Washington State Patrol began investigating the matter because Sylvester Park is considered part of the Capitol Campus and under state jurisdiction.
Homan spent several days in a hospital and was eventually charged in the initial attack. In January 2014, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison for second-degree assault. He couldn’t identify his attacker.
The case was given new life in November when an Olympia man told an Olympia police officer that he heard an acquaintance, whom he knew as Joshua, talking at a party about the Sylvester Park incident, according to court documents. The man said Rich became involved in the fight “because it was something fun to do.”
The man didn’t know Rich’s last name, but he did point him out to an officer in downtown Olympia, and the officer recognized him as Rich. The officer contacted a WSP detective with the information.
The detective also interviewed the man and located Rich in Gig Harbor.
The detective showed Rich the surveillance footage, and Rich admitted to stabbing Homan, according to court documents. He told the detective, “I didn’t know (the knife) was in my hand, it was already in my hand. … I (expletive) up. I don’t want to go to jail. Jail is not for me. It was a (expletive) mistake that I will have to live with.”
During the Wednesday court hearing, Rich apologized for his actions and said he’s changed since the assault.
“Since then I’ve grown up and I run my life better,” Rich said. “I work now and I’ve gotten off the streets.”