Man sent to jail for injuring Texas man |

Man sent to jail for injuring Texas man

by Maggie O'Neill

A 28-year-old California man will spend three months in jail and serve 200 hours of community service after beating a man to the point where he suffered brain damage.

Anthony Olmos pleaded guilty to preventing a witness from testifying for repeatedly punching Christopher Price, a 54-year-old Texas businessman, who was in South Lake Tahoe for a golf tournament. Price and Olmos had just been introduced to each other at the Altitude night club at Harrah’s in August 2003 when Olmos began pummeling Price with roundhouses.

The charge was the only one the district attorney and the defendant’s attorney agreed on that would significantly reflect the severity of the incident.

District Court Judge Michael Gibbon gave Olmos a suspended 12-48 month prison sentence last week. Olmos will be on probation for up to five years.

“I’m sorry this happened,” Olmos said at sentencing. “I’m sorry for Mr. Price and his family. Without a doubt, I regret this whole night. I wish it never happened.”

Price did not punch Olmos back, and refused medical service from medical personnel. The following day he played a round of golf, and later collapsed unconscious in a hallway of his hotel room. He reportedly complained about his injury to golf buddies throughout the day.

“He has the mentality of a third-grader,” said Julie Butler, his fiancée, at Olmos’ sentencing on Tuesday.

Butler told Gibbons that Price has persevered in all areas of his life, bringing himself through many obstacles.

“He was such a great addition to society,” she said. “… He has a permanent hole in his brain and will be on anti-seizure medication for the rest of his life.”

Butler spoke for Price, who can not clearly explain the impact of the incident upon his life.

“You took away somebody’s life,” she said. “You took away our life, and I think you should pay for it, and I don’t mean restitution.

Both Olmos, Price and a witness were extremely intoxicated when the fight occurred. Olmos claimed from the beginning that Price grabbed him in the crotch several times, and that he had to defend himself.

In a disrict court file, a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigator wrote that he found Olmos’ explanation unbelievable, because Price would have had to reach across a table and someone would have seen him. Olmos was let into a private party in a cordoned-off area at the night club, and after asking for a cigarette, was allowed to stay.

“He believes if he hadn’t been touched in the manner he was touched, none of this would have happened,” said his attorney Terri Roeser. “He didn’t wish this or intend this.”

A subdural hematoma in Price’s head caused swelling and the brain injuries.

“It was an unprovoked attack,” said Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Mark Jackson. “Nevertheless, Mr. Price’s life has been forever altered.”

Jackson recommended a year in jail as part of Olmos’ probation. Olmos was on probation in California for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

— Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’ or 782-5121, ext. 214.