Man pleads guilty to assault with wooden pool cue at Olympia bar

An Olympia man pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting a man with a pool cue while yelling racial slurs.

Nathon E. Johnston, 26, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault. A charge of malicious harassment was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of three months on work release followed by 12 months of probation and no contact with the victim for 10 years. Sentencing is scheduled for July 10.

Judge James Dixon noted that the assault charge represents a “strike offense” under the state’s persistent offender law. Johnston has no prior felony convictions.

Court documents give the following account:

Shortly before 2 a.m. Nov. 28, Olympia police responded to a disturbance at Frankie’s Sports Bar, 3663 Pacific Ave. SE. According to witnesses, Johnston had been harassing an African-American man with racial slurs and trying to start a fight.

A crowd had separated the two men when Johnston went back to a minivan and emerged with a wooden pool cue. Johnston allegedly lunged at the man and struck him in the head twice, using enough force to break the pool cue. Johnston was also yelling racial slurs during the attack.

Documents show the man had initially tried to diffuse the situation by showing Johnston his military ID and stating that he was a combat veteran. In describing the attack, the victim said Johnston raised the stick above his head with both hands and struck down in a motion similar to chopping wood with an ax.

Police report that Johnston was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.