Assault suspects appear in court


— Three local men and a male juvenile appeared Monday in Moffat County Court to hear a judge's advisement on charges related to an alleged assault July 15 that sent one person to the hospital with critical injuries.

Brice Boling, 20, Johnny Tom, 20, and a 17-year-old minor, all of Craig, were each arrested Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, a Class 4 felony.

Garrett Verplanck, 19, of Craig, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of committing first-degree assault, a Class 3 felony.

Verplanck turned himself over to law enforcement at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, as did Boling, who reported a few days earlier.

At the juvenile's advisement Monday, Jon Pfeifer, assistant district attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, said the case was "one of the worst violent crimes I've ever read."

A Craig Police Department arrest affidavit states that Boling and the minor got into a fistfight with two other men during the late night hours of July 14, outside of a home in the 590 block of Stout Street.

A short time after the fight ended, Boling and the minor returned early July 15 with Tom and Verplanck.

According to a woman who said she witnessed the incident and is cited in the affidavit, the men brought wood boards - a 2-by-4 and a 2-by-2 - and a lead pipe to the second fight.

After a second altercation, the affidavit states an ambulance took Chance Douglas Abney, 22, of Craig, to The Memorial Hospital to treat injuries consistent with multiple blows to the back and face by a 2-by-4.

Later July 15, the same day as the fight, Abney was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs for surgery.

Craig Police and Steamboat Springs Police Department officials described Abney has having 6- to 8-inch-long bruises on his back, two cuts across his face, a possible broken cheek bone and a broken nose, according to the affidavit.

Officials also stated they first thought Abney has one or more front teeth missing but discovered instead that the upper palette of his mouth was split in two during the fight.

Statements about the incident from the four males arrested in the case differ throughout the affidavit.

The minor and Verplanck told law enforcement that the minor returned to the home on Stout Street after the initial fistfight to retrieve his bicycle, but was "jumped" by about 10 men who attacked him with wood boards, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states Verplanck told police he joined the minor and Boling for a third attempt to retrieve the minor's bike, but they were attacked by 12 men who had "blood covering all or some of their faces."

The affidavit only describes the minor's injuries, which were recorded by police as being skinned knees, a small abrasion on his right wrist and a cut on his left temple.

According to the affidavit, Verplanck also said that in the process of defending themselves, Boling struck two men in the face with a rock.

Boling told law enforcement that the minor instigated the first fistfight, and that he, the minor, Tom and Verplanck later returned to the scene to fight again, according to the affidavit.

Boling added in his statement included that the minor picked up a lead pipe, and Verplanck and Tom obtained wood boards before the second fight occurred.

After he was taken into custody, Tom told police that he and Verplanck were asked by the minor and Boling to join them in a fight, according to the affidavit.

In the affidavit, Tom said it was his idea to pick up boards and pipes from the ground around a storage unit near Sunset Elementary, and that he witnessed Verplanck strike Abney in the face with a 2-by-4.

The District Attorney's Office has until Thursday to file formal charges against Boling, Tom and Verplanck, and until Wednesday to file charges against the minor.

At the minor's court appearance Monday, Judge Sandra Gardner ordered him to be held in custody at a youth corrections facility in Grand Junction.

Gardner said that although the minor had no prior arrests or tickets, the nature of the case compelled her to place him in custody outside of his parents' home. However, she added she would be willing to change her decision at a later date.

Boling, Tom and Verplanck appeared via video from Moffat County Jail, and each were given $10,000 bond requirements.

The three men are next scheduled to appear in court July 28.

Unlike the minor, each man has prior convictions.

Tom previously was convicted of two minor in possession charges and a misdemeanor theft charge.

Boling and Verplanck have each been convicted of a minor in possession charge.

None of the men who were at the Stout Street home have been arrested in connection with the case.


Frank Estey 7 years, 9 months ago

I hope The District Attorney's Office takes this case and Prosecutes these individuals to the full extent of the law.

"Jon Pfeifer, assistant district attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, said the case was "one of the worst violent crimes I've ever read."

These people are not much better than the dogs running wild in town, the dogs were put down now lets hope these people are put away.


jakebreslin 7 years, 9 months ago

It was a fight. I'm sure there is a lot more to the story then what has been told. I know Brice and he wouldn't just jump someone for no reason. I also know that Brice wouldn't use a weapon. So that would be on the other three. Why does the Craig police department try to give people the max punishment for fights but lets child molesters and drug dealers go with a slap on the wrist or not even pursue the case? It doesn't make any sense to me. I know they have a legitimate case right now against someone for child molestation and they have had the evidence for almost a year now and have still done nothing and it is solid evidence that would put this person away but they simply don't. Why is that? I'm not going to be anonymous because that's not me and everyone who knows me knows that I will speak my mind and I don't care what anyone thinks. Jake Breslin


lonelyone 7 years, 9 months ago

you have a good point Jake. I think sometimes molesters don't get punished because the victim doesn't want to be put through a trial or the parents don't want to make their child go through that. I can't say that I blame them, but at the same time I understand your frustration.


maybe4u 7 years, 9 months ago

There usually is more to the story and even the participants don't know exactly what happened. The bottom line is that some very bad decisions were made that will affect the lives of all involved. I feel that all the kids and parents involved need our compassion and not indignation. Sometimes stupid talk escalates into a very bad situation. The injuries will take a long time to heal for one of the boys and the emotional trauma will last forever for the all these boys and their parents. There is no room for mud slinging against the parents or the kids involved. I believe that in the heat of the fight (and who can say they have never gotten carried away at something) their brains stopped thinking. They just wanted to win a fight and now they must face the consequences of their actions.


als362 7 years, 9 months ago

To jakebreslin The Craig Police Dept. does not and has never prosecuted anyone for anything. The police just bring the perp's into custody. It is the courts and the judges that dole out the punishment or lack of it as the case may be.


Ray Cartwright 7 years, 9 months ago

The account that I read in the paper was such that to leave and return with boards and a pipe constitutes pre-meditated and should be charged as attempted murder.


sickandtired 7 years, 9 months ago

Shame on the Daily Press for making its newspaper into a police report! Has anyone noticed that thats all thats printed in there lately? Now they get ahold of affadavits and print what they read in them! Suspects lie throught their teeth in their police interviews to save their own a**! so when the Press prints that, then thats what everyone thinks really happened! Quit printing crap like that! And I think its really strange how the Police arrested thre4 young thugs and none of the other guys?


jakebreslin 7 years, 9 months ago

To als362 You would be correct on the ultimate decisions for punishment would be through the District Attorney and the judge. However, the police have an obligation to the community to be fair and just with their reporting. As I know it would be difficult to determine the truth from the lies, it should not ever be biased. I hope that is not the case here. Don't get me wrong, I realize this fight turned into something more and there needs to be a consequence. Before any of us make an opinion, we need the truth (the entire truth on both sides of the victim and the accused. This we have not gotten. With that said, I know first hand there are open cases on child molestation and it should never have taken a year to be presented to the DA's Office. It has given this child molester a year to harm other children. That is what frustrates me with the Craig Police Department.


maybe4u 7 years, 9 months ago

It's very true that you should not believe everything you read or everything your hear through the grapevine. We will never get the truth but hopefully in court all versions of it will come out. I don't agree with "the public has a need to know" all the details. I do agree with jakebreslin that opinions should be based on available facts and not biased by the media. But aside from the lesson to be taken from it, keep your temper and think before you act, maybe it doesn't really require our opinion at this point in time.


lonelyone 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe4u, I like your post. I think some other people should pay attention to it on another topic too. Things get twisted around when they are spread by gossip and maybe we should take alot of this with a grain of salt.


bigrred1576 7 years, 9 months ago

If only the media would present the news as UN biased


Frank Estey 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree also, If you beat a person almost to death, do not let the guy who is the reporter for the paper find out about it or the whole town will find out then your reputation might be in doubt.


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