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Gang member guilty of assault, not attempted murder

Thu., Aug. 26, 2010

Man tried to run over bodybuilder with car

A jury convicted a gang member Wednesday of using his car to try to run over a bodybuilder – described by one attorney as a “moose of a man” – during a confrontation last November in a downtown Spokane parking lot.

The jury of six women and six men exonerated 23-year-old Cedric E. “Dirty” Burton of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, but found him guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree assault.

Burton faces 3 ½ to 5 years in prison at his sentencing, which was tentatively set for 3 p.m. Friday before Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza. The conviction also gave Burton his second strike for violent offenses. A third violent-crimes conviction would mean that he stays in jail for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

Witnesses testified that they were celebrating the birthday of Brad Hollibaugh, a world-class bodybuilder, on Nov. 21 when the bars closed and the group exited into a nearby parking lot. Burton backed his blue Camaro into Jacob Schreiber, who said he had to put his hands on the car to steady himself.

Burton and another man got out of the car and began to verbally spar with Schreiber.

Hollibaugh “jumped in front of me, and there were words exchanged,” Schreiber said. “Brad told them to get back in their car. They did. Then they started revving their engine … and went towards us.”

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla called Hollibaugh, 43, who described himself as a bodybuilder, actor and trainer, said Burton was “basically stalking me through the parking lot … to run me over. I definitely was not going to make it easy for him.”

Cipolla asked Hollibaugh if he thought his life was in danger.

“I thought he was going to do it. I wasn’t going to doubt his word,” Hollibaugh said. Burton took the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday and said that he was just trying to leave the parking lot and that the bodybuilder was the one who was trying to assault him.

That argument was echoed by defense attorney Mark Hannibal in his closing arguments Wednesday.

“Who did all the talking that night? Mr. Hollibaugh. He’s a moose of a man. He’s waiting to tear someone apart,” Hannibal said.

The trial was the first of several scheduled in succession for Burton, who was arrested earlier this year in Los Angeles and transported to Spokane. He faces two felony trials for bail jumping, another trial for first-degree robbery and second-degree assault from 2008, and he’s charged with rendering criminal assistance in the Jan. 17 shooting death of John S. Williams.

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