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Welliver faces legal battle

Chauncey Welliver is facing felony assault charges and could face up to nine years in prison.  
 (FILe / The Spokesman-Review)
Chauncey Welliver is facing felony assault charges and could face up to nine years in prison. (FILe / The Spokesman-Review)
Thomas Clouse Staff writer

It’s not exactly a 12-round heavyweight fight, but the Hillyard Hammer is still facing a dozen jurors who will decide whether he goes to prison for essentially breaking a man’s face last year.

Known as the Hillyard Hammer in boxing circles, Chauncy K. Welliver, 24, is expected to testify in his own defense today at the second-degree assault trial involving an apartment manager who said he was pummeled by Welliver outside a downtown bar. If the jury finds him guilty, Welliver would face between three and nine years in prison.

Ujenio Elizondo testified Tuesday that the incident began when he heard loud noises and what sounded like men squaring off for a fight across the street from the apartment complex he manages at 221 W. Riverside Ave.

Elizondo said several of his tenants complained to him about the noise so he walked outside to investigate. He said he looked across the street and several men were arguing in front of the Spread Tavern – now called the Zombie Room – where Welliver had been working as a bouncer.

Elizondo said it appeared that Welliver was acting as a “peacemaker” and was attempting to keep two groups of men from fighting. A police officer arrived and the group broke up, making Elizondo believe it was safe to cross the street, he said.

He testified that he asked what was left of the group to keep down the noise when he was “sucker punched” from the side by Welliver.

“He came on my blind side,” Elizondo said. “I’m just … cold cocked. He seemed to be a little (upset) that I got back up.”

He said Welliver hit him three or four more times. The next thing he knew, Elizondo woke up lying near the sidewalk next to the bar. It appeared he had been there some time because it was dark and no one was around, he said.

According to court records, two other eye witnesses saw Welliver assault Elizondo.

Patrick Brennan told police that he watched Elizondo walk across the street to talk to individuals who appeared ready to fight.

“It did not appear that Elizondo did anything aggressively towards the defendant,” court records state. “Upon contacting the group of men … Welliver stepped around another subject and struck Elizondo in the face. The defendant struck Elizondo at least three or four more times, knocking him back to the street.”

Both Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Deborah King and defense attorney Rob Cossey agreed to the medical evidence showing Elizondo suffered a broken orbital bone around his right eye, several bruises to his face, a broken nose and a ruptured right eardrum that has caused hearing loss, according to court testimony.

King completed her case Tuesday and Cossey said he expects to call about four witnesses, including Welliver, today.

During his testimony, Elizondo also said that he was approached by Welliver last August in Riverfront Park.

“He said he’d like to talk to me,” Elizondo said. “He introduced himself and he told me he knew he shouldn’t be talking to me. He told me that he really is a nice guy and … that he really felt sorry about what happened.”

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