Time in prison for party attacks

A Parkersburg man who sent two men to the hospital-by beating them at a Belpre party because they were hanging out with a pal’s ex-girlfriend-was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to nearly three years in prison.

Colton E. Taylor, 30, of 1326 Avery St., was sentenced on two fourth-degree felony aggravated assault charges. Taylor pleaded guilty to the two charges and initial indictments for two counts of second-degree felonious assault were dismissed, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

In asking for a prison sentence, Rings noted that Taylor and his friend Brandon R. Claypool, 27, of 2417 Lake Washington Road, Washington, W.Va, had caused serious injuries to the two men they chose to attack when they crashed a party in June 2012 where Claypool’s ex-girlfriend was present.

“Mr. Taylor has a prior felony conviction for burglary and has been to prison in the state of West Virginia. I believe that makes him prison eligible if the fact of the violent offenses didn’t cover that point. Physical harm was inflicted on two different people,” said Rings.

Rings requested Taylor receive consecutive 17-month prison sentences on each count-one month shy of the maximum possible 18 months on each charge-for a total of 34 months.

Taylor’s attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, argued that a prison sentence was not necessary. His previous felony occurred 11 years ago, and Taylor has never been given an opportunity to undergo treatment and counseling, said Baumgartel.

“He hasn’t had that kind of intensive intervention. Basically, essentially storing him in a prison facility as the state is asking-for three years-isn’t going to do the community any good,” he said.

Baumgartel recommended Taylor be sent to SEPTA Correctional Facility in Nelsonville where he can get counseling and drug and alcohol treatment.

But Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane said that was not a serious enough punishment to cover the crime.

“One (victim) had to be hospitalized, treated in the emergency room,” said Lane. “You took a ball bat to this fight. There are a lot of indications this was premeditated.”

Lane ordered consecutive 17-month sentences on the two charges and ordered Taylor to pay $2,259.30 restitution to one of the victims for his medical bills.

Claypool, who was involved in the fight to a lesser degree than Taylor, was originally indicted on two second-degree felony counts of complicity to felonious assault and a third-degree felony count of intimidation for a later incident. Claypool also pleaded guilty to reduced charges and received a six-month jail sentence on two first-degree misdemeanor assault charges. The intimidation charge was dismissed.