Two homeless men have been charged in an attack on a third homeless man with the blunt end of a hatchet that broke his skull and vertebrae.
John C. Hill, 54, and 48-year-old Dean L. Anders, who is a registered sex offender, both appeared Wednesday before Superior Court Judge James Triplet. Hill was ordered held on a $10,000 bond and Anders held on a $15,000 bond, both on the charge of first-degree assault.
The case began March 7 when Spokane police officers were summoned to People’s Park after a woman reported that her boyfriend, Richard Burt, had been assaulted.
Officers arrived and found Burt zipped up in his sleeping bag “moaning in pain. His face was covered in dried blood and he had multiple cuts and contusions and swelling on his face and head area,” Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Mike Ricketts wrote in court records.
Burt was transported to a local hospital, where he was found to have a fractured skull and broken vertebrae. Officers also noted dozens of circular bruises consistent with being struck by the head of a roofing hammer, according to court records.
Burt told investigators that he walked to Hill’s campsite in the area of 5308 W. Greenwood Ave. to ask for a tarp that Hill previously had taken from him.
“He stated Hill came at him with a sharp-pointed instrument like (an) ice pick or something similar and thrust it into his right side by his hip and then Anders hit him in the face several times with a hammer knocking him down on the ground,” Ricketts wrote. Hill later described the latter weapon as a hatchet, saying Anders used the blunt end to strike Burt.
After the attack, Burt crawled and made it to his camp.
Anders told officers that Burt came into his tent with a knife and he only hit Burt with a stick several times in self-defense. Anders later changed his story, admitting that he hit Burt with a hammer that he later threw into the Spokane River, Ricketts wrote.
According to court records, Anders was convicted of first-degree child rape and child molestation. Burt was convicted in 2003 in Las Vegas for voluntary manslaughter. Hill has previous convictions for harassment-threats to kill and assault.