By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
A Centralia man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to spend seven years in prison for an incident last month in which he assaulted another man with a hammer.
Patrick R. Lytle, 40, of Centralia, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault Thursday and was sentenced to the top end of the standard sentencing range — 84 months — pursuant to a plea agreement.
This is Lytle’s second strike offense under Washington’s Persistent Offender Accountability Act. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of another violent felony.
Police responded at 8:43 p.m. March 19 to a report of an assault in the 400 block of West Main Street. The alleged victim reported he was at a convenience store in the area when he and Lytle had a dispute. The man reportedly went into the store and came back out again, when Lytle hit him in the neck with a hammer.
Lytle clarified during his guilty plea hearing Thursday that he did not swing the hammer at the man, but held the hammer in the palm of his hand.
“I was using it as a fist pack,” he said.
As part of a plea agreement, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office removed a sentencing enhancement originally included in charging documents noting that Lytle used a deadly weapon in the assault.
Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said the facts of the case were not in dispute.
“All of this was caught on video,” he said Thursday. “What the video shows is pretty clear.”
Defense attorney Jacob Clark, representing Lytle in the case, said his client had recently been in drug treatment, attending church and staying out of trouble.
“My client had been doing well for a while,” he said.
However, Clark said Lytle struggles with mental health issues.
“He’s never been treated. He just gets convicted,” Clark said. “He needs counseling. He needs to be on medication.”