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Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane man sentenced to 11 years for assault

A 39-year-old man who previously attacked Spokane police officers with bear mace will spend a decade in prison after pleading guilty to an assault in October that left another man with brain damage. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
A 39-year-old man who previously attacked Spokane police officers with bear mace will spend a decade in prison after pleading guilty to an assault in October that left another man with brain damage. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A man was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison last week for violently attacking a man and his girlfriend with a golf club and a cinder block in October, resulting in traumatic brain injuries to the male victim.

In March, Robert C. Wigginton, 39, pleaded guilty to the assault, which happened at the residence of the victim, 70-year-old Terry Hoyt, in the 1700 block of East Mallon Avenue.

Wigginton had previously spent time in jail for an attack on police officers two summers ago, when he sprayed both himself and law enforcement with bear mace following the theft of liquor.

In the latest assault, Wigginton accused Hoyt in the gang rape of Wigginton’s girlfriend, although there is no evidence of that in court documents, and Wigginton’s girlfriend told detectives that the attack was unprovoked.

Court documents suggest that, shortly before the attack, Wigginton learned that Hoyt was a sex offender; Hoyt was convicted of communication with a minor for immoral purposes in 2012. In that case, Hoyt pleaded down from an original charge of first-degree child molestation for touching the privates of his girlfriend’s granddaughter, who was 4 years old at the time.

On Oct. 10, Wigginton came charging into the backyard of victim Hoyt’s house, where Wigginton once resided.

Wigginton held a golf club like a baseball bat and struck Hoyt two or three times in the face, according to court documents. During at least one strike, Hoyt was lying on the ground in a defenseless position, according to multiple witness accounts. The golf club broke into pieces during the attack.

Wigginton then went into Hoyt’s house and warned Hoyt’s girlfriend, Deborah Boes, not to call police, according to court documents.

Wigginton then hit her in the back of the head with an object, and she lost consciousness, according to court documents. Boes later suspected it was a concrete brick, which detectives found covered in blood.

Multiple neighbors called 911 after witnessing the attack.

Wigginton fled and later told detectives that he barely escaped with his life because he had to “run through approximately 30 crack heads that were in the front yard.”

Boes woke up and went outside to find Hoyt covered in blood “from his head to his feet.” She walked to a friend’s house and got a ride to the hospital.

Deputies responded to the reported assault and found Hoyt covered in blood. Hoyt was rushed to the emergency room and received brain surgery. He suffered facial fractures, skull fractures and a brain bleed.

Police found the golf club and cinder block covered in blood, and they also found pieces of wood and a car scissor jack covered in blood, according to court documents. They suspect the wood and car tool were used in the attack as well.

Police found Wigginton when he turned up to his community correction officer’s appointment at the Knox Presbyterian Church. They arrested him and booked him into the Spokane County Jail.

In addition to the prison sentence, Wigginton is required to pay $437 in restitution and spend 36 months on probation, according to records from Spokane County Superior Court.

Hoyt’s condition is unknown, but court documents state that his family members were told that he will probably be paralyzed on the entire right side of his body.

Detective Randy Lesser wrote in court documents that Hoyt’s injuries were “probably one of the worst assaults to the face area that I have ever seen.”

The Spokesman-Review was unable to reach Hoyt for comment.

Wigginton spent time in jail for spraying bear mace on three Spokane police officers during a foot chase in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood in July 2017.

Before the chase, Wigginton stole some liquor bottles from the South Thor Street Fred Meyer, where he shook off security guards and escaped.

Officers found Wigginton in a detached garage. Wigginton walked out with his hands up, but then sprayed himself with a can of bear spray, jumped over a fence and sprayed the mace behind him while police chased him.

Police caught him and arrested him. Officers reported having eye and lung problems, and one had facial swelling, though they returned to service that day.

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