Man reaches plea bargain in assault case

ESCANABA – After testifying against a co-defendant in district court Tuesday, an Escanaba man reached a plea bargain in circuit court – pleading guilty to two felonies related to an assault last year.

Scott Allen Wahl, 23, will be sentenced on two counts in Delta County Circuit Court in April. He pleaded guilty to attempted larceny from a person and pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon, also known as felonious assault.

The charges stem from a Dec. 17, 2012, incident near P Road in Bayview Location, below the railroad bridge between Gladstone and Escanaba.

According to Wahl’s testimony, he and co-defendant Jeffrey William Dickerson, 31, of Escanaba, assaulted a 41-year-old Bark River man who allegedly possessed illegal drugs.

Wahl, who has known Dickerson for about two years, testified he did not know the victim. Wahl said the three of them went to the train bridge because he thought they we’re “going to buy drugs, get drugs, or get rid of drugs.”

Wahl told the court Dickerson hit the victim first. Wahl then hit the victim twice with a broken glass bottle and held him on the ground while Dickerson hit him again.

Wahl said he struck the victim because he “thought this was the gank,” meaning he thought they were going to take him down to take his drugs.

After seeing railroad workers in the area, the two suspects panicked and ran from the scene, said Wahl, adding he never took anything from the victim.

The railroad workers notified police of a person bleeding from the head near the train bridge. A sheriff’s deputy found the man. He was transported by ambulance to OSF St. Francis Hospital and treated for head injuries.

The two suspects were eventually located and arrested. When police made a traffic stop later that same day, Dickerson, a passenger in the vehicle, fled from state police who apprehended him after a brief foot chase. The following morning, Wahl was arrested without incident at an Escanaba residence.

Wahl and Dickerson were each lodged in jail for assault with intent to rob while armed, a life felony. Cash bond was set at $75,000 for each.

Dickerson was also charged with one count of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer and one count of controlled substance – possession of analogues. Each charge carries a maximum sentencing of two years in prison.

During Wahl’s plea hearing in circuit court on Tuesday, the prosecution dismissed the count of assault with intent to rob while armed and also agreed not to charge him as a habitual offender in exchange for the two guilty pleas and truthful testimony against Dickerson.

Wahl will be sentenced April 2 on two felonies. Attempted larceny from a person carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment while felonious assault carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison.

Meanwhile, in district court on Tuesday, Dickerson was bound over to the higher court on one count of assault with intent to rob while armed.

He waived his right to a preliminary examination in district court on the charges of resisting a police officer and possessing a drug. These two counts were automatically bound over to circuit court.